Heading into tonight’s matchup with the Detroit Tigers, Heath Fillmyer and the Kansas City Royals went into action with the chance to extend their winning streak to a season-best mark of four game. At the 99th contest of the season, such a low season-best win streak is inarguably sad and becomes borderline tragic when looking back into the recent past of the franchise to see repeat entries in the Fall Classic just three seasons in the rearview mirror.
The only other time the Royals ran a win streak to three games, they had already fallen behind for the last time to the Texas Rangers by the fourth inning of what could have been their then-fourth-straight win.
Tonight’s starter Heath Fillmyer left the game with just an out to go in the seventh waiting for the first Detroit run to cross the plate.
Unfortunately for Fillmyer, two runners for whom he was responsible scored before Kevin McCarthy was able to escape the inning, though only one was earned thanks to a boner apiece from Drew Butera (passed ball) and Hunter Dozier (errant throw on what was ruled a single for reasons entirely lacking in rational thought from the official scorer). Fortunately for Fillmyer, the Royals added an insurance run in the bottom of the frame care of an Mike Moustakas RBI-double running their lead to 4-2 with just two frames remaining.
The first three Royals runs were supplied by Lucas Duda, who drove in Whit Merrifield and Rosell Herrera in the first with a bases-loaded single and plated Jorge Bonifacio in the fifth with a two-out single.
Spotted a lead pretty much as soon as is possible while pitching at home, Fillmyer looked good tonight. In 6.2 innings, he struck out six while walking two and yielding three hits with one of each of those walks and hits coming on the 87th and 88th pitches of his night. Those were his last two pitches of the evening, and the final one glanced off Dozier’s glove as he raced up the foul line into left trying to pull a pop fly in while tracking the ball over his shoulder.
After 1.1 strong innings of relief from Kevin McCarthy, Ned Yost pegged the Human Torch Brandon Maurer to close out the ninth for the Royals. Anyone who has seen Maurer pitch can imagine what happened next. Within three batters, the Royals lead was coughed up, on the back of a Jeimer Candelario single and back-to-back doubles from Victor Martinez and Jim Adduci.
As quickly as he entered the game, Maurer exited, ceding the bump to Jason Hammel. Hammel allowed the go-ahead RBI double to James McCann and loaded the bases with just one out recorded before getting Ronny Rodríguez to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the frame down just a run.
Suddenly trailing for the first time of the night, the Royals had just three outs to try to keep the saddest season-long winning streak in the history of season-long winning streaks alive. With Shane Greene on the mound for the Tigers, the Royals went down with a whimper. grounding out twice before newest Royal Brian Goodwin tried to keep the streak alive with a line-drive single, apparently unaware that Alcides Escobar was batting behind him and any such efforts were as futile as resisting the Borg or trying to give up drinking during a Royals’ baseball season.
The streak is dead.
The Royals record falls to 30-69, closing back in on a sub-.300 winning percentage on this dismal season.