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Late Moustakas homer not enough to overcome Rangers; Royals lose 3-2

The ninth inning was fun! The rest, not so much.

Alcides Escobar after being ejected by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes
John Sleezer | Kansas City Star

Tonight, the Texas Rangers completed a sweep of the Kansas City Royals, vanquishing them 3-2. It was not only a sweep of the series, but finalized a sweep of the entire eight-game homestand where the Royals couldn’t eke out a single win against the Rangers, Houston Astros, or Cincinnati Reds.

Jake Junis, the Royals’ starter for tonight, has had a problem with the long ball recently. Junis entered tonight’s game with 18 home runs allowed, tied for second most among all MLB pitchers behind Bartolo Colon, the Ageless Wonder and Giver of Happiness. And true to form, Junis gave up a homer to Roughned Odor, who despite his 2018 struggles still owns a career .190 isolated slugging percentage.

Fortunately for Junis, though, that home run was a solo shot, and it was the only long ball given up by the sophomore righty. Junis managed to navigate a bunch of baserunners—nine in total, five via hit and four via walk—to only allow three total runs. It could have easily been much worse were it not for a no out, bases loaded double play by Rangers catcher Isaiah Kiner-Falefa in the second inning. But what happened happened, and Junis worked through six innings and turned in what ended up being a quality start.

But as it stands, the Royals were unable to score runs, which has been a particularly common refrain in their June swoon. Coming into tonight’s game, Kansas City had scored just a tick over two runs per game this month. Tonight did not help. The Royals struck quickly, as a Hunter Dozier double scored Alex Gordon from first base, but that was a mere camera flash in an expanse of night.

This surprised nobody, because it’s just what you get for fielding a lineup with only two guys who have above average offensive numbers over the past two seasons. Rex Hudler pointed out on the television broadcast that Dozier’s seventh inning infield single was the first hit by a Royal in the seventh inning or later since Friday against the Astros. Friday. It is Wednesday. That is how you lose baseball games.

In the eighth inning, Alcides Escobar spiked his bat and argued with home plate upmpire Chad Fairchild after looking at strike three with a full count. It was a borderline call, and while Escobar was probably right, the violence with which he threw his bat and the ferocity with which he argued earned him an ejection. It was the most exciting thing that had happened for the Royals since the second inning.

Just as everyone was about to fall asleep from utter boredom and sadness, Mike Moustakas took it upon himself to make the game far more interesting in the ninth inning. Moose absolutely clobbered a Jake Diekman slider, golfing the low-and-inside pitch at 105 MPH to send it 422 feet over the right field wall.

The very next batter, Salvador Perez, knocked a single into left field after a long battle with Diekman, but that was it for the rally. Ned Yost inexplicably left Perez standing on first base despite speedy Paulo Orlando sitting on the bench. Gordon then watched two fastballs cruise down the middle of the plate and swung and missed at a borderline slider for a strikeout. Dozier hit a weak fielder’s choice grounder, and then with Ryan Goins at the plate Yost called for a delayed steal, which did not work because delayed steals never work. Yeah, Dozier could have done that on his own, but that doesn’t seem likely, especially when you consider Ryan Goins was hitting. Might as well gamble.

Kansas City is somehow 22-52, which does not seem like a real record a professional baseball team should have. Tomorrow they will travel to Minute Maid park and face the 50-26 Houston Astros who have a league best run differential of +161.