In the end, three runs is still not enough.
Certainly, the most obvious culprit was Aaron Crow and a spectacular 8th inning meltdown that saw nine Cardinal hitters come to the plate, score four runs and were stopped only by a diving Alcides Escobar play for the third out after Ned Yost turned to Luke Hochevar, yes, Hochevar to put out the fire. It was one of the few times in his career that I was actually glad to see Hochevar on the mound.
Still, three runs is not enough. Certainly not enough to survive a four run eighth. The Royals can point the finger squarely at Aaron Crow for this loss, but three runs is still not enough.
The Royals' offense collected 10 hits, including two doubles and a triple, with Alex Gordon getting three of the hits. A triple by David Lough, who also singled, walked and threw out a runner at home plate and, while he likely is not a long-term answer as an everyday outfielder, is still doing a remarkable job of making Jeff Francoeur look completely and totally replaceable.
Still, Kansas City's first run of the night came on an Alex Gordon single, an Escobar double that barely made it to the outfield grass and a sacrifice fly. The Royals' scored their second run on a Lough lead-off triple that was followed by two pop ups by George Kotteras and Chris Getz, but then, miraculously was followed by Luis Mendoza's first major league hit. The third run came on two seeing eye singles by Mike Moustakas and Lough, with Moustakas scoring on a Kotteras ground out. That is not exactly bashing the ball around the park.
Mendoza, besides driving in a run, was capable on the mound. He took 98 pitches to get through 5.2 innings, scattering 9 baserunners and allowing a single run on a Matt Holliday bomb (a ball that, by the way, is out in Kaufmann Stadium, too). For a fifth starter on a sub .500 team, that is about all you can ask for. It was good enough, if the Royals do better than going 2-11 with runners in scoring position or if Aaron Crow isn't awful in the eighth. Here's one for you, what if the Royals mix in a home run somewhere along the way and lead 5-1 in the 8th and Crow is awful but gives up three runs instead of four? I hear that happens...to good teams.
That is eight losses in a row. This one hurt a lot, given that it felt a lot like a win. Luckily, we Royals fans are used to it.