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Home run issues for Jeremy Guthrie in Royals loss to Rays

There was a scary play involving Rays starter Alex Cobb taking a line drive off the head, but the injury does not appear to be too serious.

J. Meric

The Kansas City Royals did not reach the .500 mark today, losing 5-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

The Rays put a run on the board in the first inning. Ben Zobrist and Luke Scott hit one-out singles, then Evan Longoria hit a sacrifice fly. If the home plate umpire had been calling a low-strike in the first, however, Jeremy Guthrie may have escaped the first inning without allowing any runs.

Kansas City responded with two runs in the top of the second. Mike Moustakas and Elliot Johnson both hit one-out singles, then Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon both drew one-out walks. Escobar and Gordon both had two strike counts, and both battled back to earn their base against Alex Cobb. Eric Hosmer followed with a line drive to centerfield, right at Desmond Jennings, but deep enough to drive Johnson in from third to give the Royals a 2-1 lead.

Tampa Bay regained the lead for good in the bottom of the third inning. Zobrist hit a two out single, then Scott cracked a two-run homer. The pitch was down and in to the left-handed hitter, which traditionally is not great location.

Hosmer led off the fifth inning by hitting a line drive off Cobb's head. The ball bounced back to Jose Lobaton, who threw Hosmer out at first, but all of the attention went to Cobb. SB Nation has a .GIF of the play if you want to see it, but I won't include the .GIF in the post since I hate seeing line drives ricochet off a pitcher's head.

Cobb left the game on a stretcher, and went straight to a hospital. Cobb has been diagnosed with a mild concussion and his tests came back normal, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, so hopefully the injury is not too serious.

Alex Torres replaced Cobb, and struck out four of the five Royals he faced. Jake McGee relieved Torres, and pitched a scoreless top of the seventh.

Guthrie surrendered two more runs on solo homers to Matt Joyce and Longoria. Both pitches were thrown down the middle, and both pitches were promptly crushed. The veteran starter ended up allowing five runs in seven innings, but it could have been worse, as the Rays loaded the bases against Guthrie in the seventh inning. Guthrie looked gassed and had thrown over 100 pitches, but Ned Yost left the starter in to face Longoria with the bases loaded and two outs. Longoria fouled out to Hosmer, ending the threat.

Salvador Perez smashed a solo homer off Joel Peralta in the eighth inning, but it was too little, too late. Gordon hit a two-out single against closer Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning, and Hosmer worked a walk, but Perez grounded out to end the game.

Perez and David Lough both had multi-hit games, while Gordon reached base twice. Royals hitters struggled to make contact against Rays pitching, striking out 11 times as a team.

The loss was disappointing, but the Royals weren't going to win out. Kansas City gets a chance to win the series tomorrow; Wade Davis will start for the Royals against Roberto Hernandez.