Hoping to take the momentum and claim the series following the 5-1 victory on Friday night, the Royals failed to emulate similar success in game two. As Phillies starter Zach Eflin worked quick and efficiently in route to a complete game shutout, Brad Keller struggled with command once again, leading to the 7-0 defeat on Saturday evening.
After both teams remained deadlocked at zero heading into the top of third, Philadelphia broke through with two outs, two strikes, and the bases loaded. Looking to escape unscathed, Keller couldn’t put away Rhys Hoskins, who promptly smoked a line drive past Adalberto Mondesi at shortstop and into left-center field to plate two runs. On the next pitch, Keller and catcher Martin Maldonado had their signs mixed up, resulting in a passed ball that added the third run of the inning.
Continuing to be stifled offensively, Kansas City created its best opportunity to climb back into the game in the bottom of the fourth. Starting it off with an infield single by Mondesi, Eflin proceeded to plunk Hunter Dozier and Jorge Soler on the hands to load the bases. Trailing 4-0, Ryan O’Hearn stepped to the plate with the idea of knocking his second grand slam in less than a week. Working the left-handed first baseman on the outside corner, O’Hearn tapped a 0-1 pitch back to the mound, effectively ending the threat.
Tagging Keller for two more in the top of the sixth, the right-hander exited his outing surrendering five earned runs while walking four hitters. Relievers in Glenn Sparkman, Richard Lovelady, and Brad Boxberger worked three scoreless innings out of the bullpen to keep the contest from spinning out of control. Wily Peralta did allow a run in the ninth in mop-up duty. Only being able to record a mere four hits on the evening, the Royals were shutout for the second time in three games.
For Keller, who takes his fourth loss on the season, he remains winless since April 12th when he shutout the Indians over 6 2⁄3 innings. Dropping their 26th game of 2019, the Royals will look to salvage the series tomorrow at 1:15 CT. Jakob Junis will take the bump for Kansas City while Phillies 2016 fifth-round pick, Cole Irvin, will make his major league debut.