Vincent Velazquez, in only his second start after returning from a previous injury, gave the Phillies a scare early in this one. From the start his fastball was averaging only about 90, and he required one visit from his catcher and then another from the trainer before he even retired his first batter. Speaking of which, for the third straight game the Royals put 2 runners on in the first inning. And also for the third straight game they failed to score either of them.
Unfortunately, Yordano Ventura was unable to do duplicate Velasquez’s first inning success. After allowing a pair of singles, Ventura got Cameron Rupp down in the count 1-2 before leaving a fastball up that Rupp took deep over Kendrys Morales' head in right field to give the Phillies an early 3-0 lead.
Ventura gave the Royals an injury scare of their own in the top of the third. He reached with a single to lead off the inning, but when Alex Gordon hit a groundball to the second baseman Ventura rolled his ankle while attempting to dodge the tag. The replay looked pretty nasty but he was able to keep pitching. At least until he gave up a monster solo home run with 2 outs to Cody Asche. Ned Yost decided that was enough, even though Ventura appeared to insist he could keep pitching. Officially Ventura was diagnosed with an ankle sprain. It looked pretty bad and as poorly as Ventura has pitched so far this year, the Royals might view this as an opportunity to let him work some things out with a rehab start or two.
Meanwhile Velasquez managed to pitch well through whatever issue caused his decreased velocity. After the first inning he didn't allow a runner past first base until Dillon Gee, on in relief of Ventura, followed a 1-out walk to Drew Butera with a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning. Alex Gordon followed up with a monster bomb of his own, cutting the deficit in half.
Gee couldn’t get the shutdown inning, however. With 2 outs and men at second and third, he got a seemingly desirable result from Maikel Franco - the Phillies best hitter managed only weak grounder but it was exceptionally well located and allowed Odubel Herrera to score from third.
Brian Flynn followed Gee into the game and pitched 2 perfect innings, but with the offense unable to get anything done he was asked to finish the game off and ran into plenty of trouble in the 8th inning. He gave up 2 runs on a solo shot to Franco and an RBI single later in the inning by Freddy Galvis to score Rupp. The Phillies, who so far this year have averaged 2.7 runs per game at home, scored 13 in this series.
Notes from the game:
- Morales walked, but lost his hitting streak with a pair of strike outs and a foul out.
- Alcides Escobar just managed to keep his own streak alive with a single in the 9th inning.
- Alex Gordon also had a single to left field along with his home run; it would be nice to think he’s coming out of his season-long slump, finally.
- The Phillies’ player of the game by WPA is Cameron Rupp whose first inning home run contributed to his 23% total.
- The Royals’ goat was Yordano Ventura, who allowed 4 runs on 4 hits in 2 and 2/3 innings for -26%
The Royals have won 3 games out of 5 so far on this road trip, but it still stings to lose a series to the Phillies. That sting is somewhat lessened by Cleveland getting blown out by the Blue Jays 17-1, but the Royals are also headed to Toronto to start a 3 game series tomorrow. They will just have to hope the Blue Jays used up most or all of their offense for the week.