Dillon Gee against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Who ever would have expected that Kelvin Herrera would be the one to blow the game for Kansas City?
The evening started off exactly how you'd expect it to go - with a Blue Jay hitting a home run. Devon Travis led off the game with a solo jack just four pitches into Dillon Gee's outing. 1-0, Toronto.
Kansas City came right back and tied the game in the bottom of the first after Alcides Escobar, who reached on an error and went to third on Cheslor Cuthbert's single, scored on Lorenzo Cain's double play.
After the first inning, though, Gee was actually very good. He walked the Jeremy Guthrie tightrope, but he definitely did his job of keeping his team in the game over his six frames of work. Toronto grabbed two run in the top of the third when Michael Saunders hit an RBI double and Troy Tulowitzki drove in a run on a groundout. It was 3-1 Blue Jays at the end of three innings, but Gee worked through three more scoreless frames. Overall, it was way better than any of us could have realistically imagined him doing.
The Royals tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Paulo Orlando smashed a solo home run into the Sonic Slam seats to make it 3-2, and then with two outs, Cheslor Cuthbert was rewarded after a long plate appearance with a walk. Lorenzo Cain then smashed a game-tying double, bringing the Royals even with the Blue Jays at 3-3.
Gee's final line: 6.0 innings, four hits, three runs, and 87 pitches. He walked twice as many batters as he struck out (four to two), but his strike-to-ball ratio was good (57 to 30).
Peter Moylan worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning. Joakim Soria handled the eighth, and it wasn't pretty, but he got the job done after putting two men on first.
Then, Herrera took the hill in a tie game in the ninth inning. He struck out Melvin Upton. He retired Darwin Barney thanks to a spectacular play by Alcides Escobar. Then, things unraveled. Travis, who is not typically the name you think of when you think of a Toronto power hitter, got around on a 99 mph fastball at the belt and hit it into the Royals bullpen. It was his first career two-homer game, and it gave Toronto all they needed.
Herrera's struggles in the inning continued when he walked Jose Bautista, and then the scariest moment of the evening ensued. Herrera fired a changeup up and in to Donaldson, and it hit him square in the side of the helmet. It was an inch away from being a lot worse, as Donaldson was able to get up under his own power and continue playing.
There's obviously history between these two teams. The brawls last year. The heartbreak in the playoffs. Yordano Ventura said he'd throw at Toronto. But I think I speak on behalf of all Royals fans when I say that Herrera's pitch was clearly not intentional. Though the velocity was still near 90 mph, it was a changeup, and Donaldson didn't seem interested in fighting once he hopped to his feet. Hopefully, both pitching staffs will realize that there's nothing to settle, and two clean games will be played in the next two days.
Oh, and Orlando was on second base with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but he was thrown out trying to steal third. Joaquim Benoit got the save for Toronto.
inning game season was a giant kick to the balls.
The Toronto starter was Francisco Liriano, a familiar foe for Kansas City. He matched Gee with six innings of three-run ball, though he struck out five and scattered seven hits.
Herrera, after taking the loss, is 1-3. Brett Cecil earned the win for Toronto after working the bottom of the eighth inning. He is 1-6.
Kansas City is 51-58. They are seven games under .500 for the first time since May 2013. The Royals still have not beaten the Blue Jays in 2016. Things are not good.
Alcides Escobar, who made five more outs tonight in his five at-bats, is now averaging fewer than one walk and fewer than one extra-base hit per six games. His SLUGGING PERCENTAGE is .302. He's the worst hitter in the lineup by infinity miles, and he still leads off. And tonight, Ned's idiotic strategy of keeping the worst hitter in the leadoff spot really screwed Kansas City, as Escobar was the only Royal to bat five times. He is the worst leadoff hitter in baseball, and if he doesn't get dropped to the bottom of the lineup soon, I just may lose my collective marbles.
Tomorrow: Danny Duffy and Aaron Sanchez on Husker Night at the K. It's a great matchup, and the Royals have won the last seven games he's started.