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Deja Vu, Royals bullpen blows another close game, late, lose to Tigers 5-4

Tonight’s perpetrator was Jason Hammel.

Jason Hammel throws a pitch.
Jason Hammel was ungood.
Photo by Andy King/Getty Images

The only important thing that happened in tonight’s game was that Victor Martinez hit a squibber to the right side of the infield that was fielded near first base by Adalberto Mondesi but still turned into a single. Victor Martinez has had multiple knee surgeries over the past few years and can barely walk, much less run, but his career ended with an infield single. Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire sent Nico Goodrum out to pinch run for Martinez who, appropriately, took his time and made an extended curtain call to the fans in Detroit before exiting the field.

Other than that it was pretty much the same thing you’re used to seeing all season. Whit Merrifield had a pair of hits and a pair of walks, scoring a run and driving in another. Alex Gordon continued his recent trend of having a hot enough September to make you wonder if he could somehow find a way to be worth having on the roster next season by tacking on a solo home run. He’s slashing .280/.360/.427/.787 in September, coming into tonight; .259/.357/.412/.769 going back to the beginning of August. Salvy brought the game within one when he belted home run number 27 with two outs in the ninth; that ties his career high for a season with a week left to play.

Jakob Junis earned a quality start and, perhaps most importantly, didn’t allow a home run. He struck out five and walked one in his six innings while allowing three runs. Jake Newberry used an incredibly large strike zone to send a pair of Tigers back to the dugout, looking, in a scoreless seventh. But, as you knew it must happen, Jason Hammel was allowed to pitch the eighth inning. Two batters later the Tigers had a lead they could hold on to when Mikie Mahtook him deep for a two-run, ultimately-game-winning home run.

Pitcher wins and losses don’t mean a whole heck of a lot but Jason Hammel is now 3-14 on the season. His 6.07 ERA is both far more meaningful and equally terrifying. The Royals play a rubber match in their final game against the Tigers, this season, tomorrow, when Rookie of the Year candidate Brad Keller faces off against the winless Daniel Norris.