A season-high seven extra-base hits and three home runs from the Royals offense weren’t enough, as the pitching staff blew a 4-0 lead, including a 6-4 lead with in the 9th, in a 7-6 extra-inning loss to the Mariners. The loss extended the Royals losing streak to 10-games and gave Seattle a four-game sweep.
This team, and this season, have quickly turned into an unmitigated disaster, not unlike 2018. And as per the script for this season, that disaster started well for the Royals.
Mariners starter Mike Leake labored from the get-go, surrendering back-to-back walks to Adalberto Mondesi and Alex Gordon. He was able to get out of the inning, but all three of the outs were struck well, foreshadowing lots of hard contact for the rest of the afternoon.
Hunter Dozier got it started by leading off the 2nd inning with a 411-foot bomb that was 110 MPH off the bat. Dozier’s bad luck in the first 11 games of the season has been noted, with his average exit velocity not matching his early season struggles. He also led off the 4th inning with a double but was stranded at second.
The Royals built off of their 1-0 lead in the 3rd, with a two-out double from Gordon followed by a two-run home run by Jorge Soler to make it a 3-0 game. The home run made it back-to-back days where both Dozier and Soler homered and, to make things weirder, both player’s first home run of the season also came in the same game.
Meanwhile, Jorge Lopez was cruising past a scorching hot Mariners lineup. Lopez held the Mariners hitless through three innings, with Domingo Santana notching Seattle’s first hit of the game with two outs in the 4th. Through five innings, Lopez had given up just one hit while striking out three.
That all ended in a 26-pitch 6th inning, an inning that has been troublesome for Kansas City. Dee Gordon hooked a fly ball around the foul pole in right field to lead off the 6th, making it a 4-1 game. Mallex Smith followed that up with a triple down the left-field line. The triple was, in part, due to Gordon attempting to cut the ball off and allowing it to get deeper into the corner, a rare misplay. Smith scored on a Mitch Haniger sacrifice fly, cutting the Royals lead down to 4-2.
Including the two runs given up this afternoon, Kansas City pitchers have now given up 17 runs in the 6th inning this season. That’s good for 25% of their total runs given up. A two-out walk from Edwin Encarnacion brought up Daniel Vogelbach, one of the hottest hitters in baseball, representing the tying run. Lopez got out of the inning on a very, very friendly called strike three that probably should have been ball four.
The 7th inning hasn’t been much friendlier to the Royals and pestered them again today. The recently called-up Jake Newberry struck out two in his 0.2 innings, but left a man on second for Richard Lovelady to deal with. Dee Gordon ripped an RBI triple to the left-center field gap, just glancing off the outstretched glove of Terrance Gore, bringing the Mariners to within one. Lovelady was able to strand Gordon at third to keep the Royals out in front.
Kansas City got the two runs back in the 7th, beginning with another Mariners’ defensive lapse. For the second time in the game, Gordon wound up at second base after a Mariners defender, this time Tim Anderson, misplayed an easy fly ball. It was scored as a “double on a pop up to shortstop,” because baseball scoring makes no sense.
He scored on a Soler bloop double to put the Royals up 5-3. Dozier immediately followed with an RBI single, making it a 6-3 game. In total, the Royals tallied a season-high seven extra-base hits. Don’t you dare underestimate the power of the Royals bullpen, though.
Before you could settle back into your couch for the 8th, Wily Peralta had runners on first and third with nobody out. Then Encarnacion blooped an RBI single into right, making it a 6-4 ballgame with the tying run on base and nobody out. However, he was able to get a Vogelbach fly out before inducing a huge double play to end the inning.
After an uneventful 8th inning, the Royals carried a 6-4 lead into the 9th and, yes, don’t you dare underestimate the power of Kansas City’s killer-of-all-joy bullpen.
Tell me if you have heard this one before, but Brad Boxberger ran into some trouble in the 9th. With two outs in the 9th, Hanniger came to the plate representing the winning run and hit a game-tying double that bounced out of the glove of Billy Hamilton.
To make matters worse, Hamilton had to be carted off the field with what appeared to be a right knee injury after colliding with the wall. After a lengthy delay, Boxberger got Santana to ground out to end the inning.
After a mostly uneventful bottom half of the 9th and an American League double-switch because of a mismanaged lineup, Vogelbach put the exclamation mark on the comeback with a solo homer to right-center field to put the Mariners up 7-6.
Merrifield got a chance to extend his hitting streak, and the game, with two outs in the 10th, but struck out. For the 8th time in 12 tries, the Royals were tied or had a lead in the 7th inning or later and for the 6th time, they lost.
Up Next: Cleveland Indians v. Kansas City Royals; Friday, April 12, 7:15 PM CDT, Progressive Field. RHP Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 7.71 ERA) v. RHP Brad Keller (1-1, 2.84 ERA)