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Royals defense, bullpen implode. 4-3 Astros in 12 innings

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Ian Kennedy pitched well enough to convince A.J. Pierzynski that he had some trade value, too.

Kansas City Royals v Houston Astros
Hunter admires his opposite-field blast
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Ian Kennedy pitched exceptionally well, today. There’s no doubt about that. He went seven innings and struck out five. Five is also the number of hits (4) and walks (1) he allowed. Kennedy really only found trouble in the fourth inning when Jose Altuve doubled with one out, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a Carlos Correa sacrifice fly. Things looked like they might get a bit out of hand when Yuli Gurriel followed that up with a solo shot just barely into the Crawford Boxes in left-field but that was the last time Kennedy would really look like he was in trouble.

His contract is still essentially untradeable.

Lance McCullers Jr., as the saying goes, made one mistake. He threw a fastball down the middle to Hunter Dozier with two on and two out in the fourth inning and Dozier didn’t miss it, taking it out to right field for a lead the Royals clung to, desperately, until the ninth inning. That was Hunter’s fourth home run in 35 games, this year, but even so, his hitting needs to improve if he wants to stick around for the next competitive team much less to do so at first base. And please for the love of all that is good, move him back to third when Moose gets traded.

Wily Peralta pitched a tense but scoreless eighth. Ned Yost, without a real closer on his roster, asked Brandon Maurer to try to close it out. Predictably Maurer failed at this task. If it weren’t for Alex Gordon making an amazing diving catch in left-field, Maurer might have lost the game, all on his own. right there.

And so both teams went to their long men. Chris Devinski versus Burch Smith. And so also began Hunter Dozier’s adventures at first base. In the eleventh, Alcides Escobar bounced a throw to him that deflected off his shoulder without ever touching his glove, he was forced to field a bunt on the line and tag out the runner, Mike Moustakas unleashed an errant throw that forced him to tag the runner while falling into foul territory, and Burch Smith underhanded it to him extremely low for the final out of the inning.

Unfortunately, once those long men were exhausted the Astros still had Colin McHugh while the Royals had only Justin Grimm. In fairness to Grimm, he was handicapped by an out-of-position Hunter Dozier. Yes, we’re bringing this up again. The national guys can tell he’s out of position, even if they think he’s supposed to be playing shortstop for some reason, so why can’t the Royals? In fairness to Dozier, Grimm probably would have found a way to lose the game even without his help.

Ian Kennedy’s winless streak extended to 14 starts. The Royals still haven’t won back-to-back games since May 29-May 30. That was also the last time they won a series. They extend their sweepless streak that has been in place since July 26 of last year. Up next, Jason Hammel will go for the Boys in Blue against Gerrit Cole, tomorrow afternoon.