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Defense collapses and the Royals get blown out 16-1 in series finale

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RIP all offense lineup

Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Royals hatred of close games seems unmatched in all of baseball. Each Kansas City’s last seven games had been decided by four runs or more, and that continued today as a defensive meltdown in the 5th fueled a late inning blowout in a 16-1 loss Thursday afternoon.

For a few innings, though, the Royals actually had the lead. Whit Merrifield led off the first with a single, moving to third on Nicky Lopez’s second double on the season. Adalberto Mondesi followed with a sac fly to center field, giving the Royals a 1-0 lead. It would be Kansas City’s only run on the afternoon.

They had another chance against Lynn in the 3rd when Lopez doubled for the second time in as many at-bats with two outs, but a Mondesi ground out got Lynn out of trouble.

Aside from a jam in the 3rd, Royals starter Homer Bailey got off to a hot start, getting through the first three frames unscathed before Joey Gallo led off the 4th with a towering solo shot to the opposite field to tie the game at 1-1. The home run left Gallo’s bat at 106 MPH but barely managed to get into the bullpen thanks to a 43-degree launch angle. It wasn’t exactly your prototypical home run.

As the Royals offense stayed quiet, more trouble came for Bailey in the 5th, thanks to a borderline defensive meltdown. Isiah Kiner-Falefa led off the inning with a walk and moved to third on Danny Santana’s single. Santana was able to move to second on the play thanks to an errant throw by Jorge Soler. Willie Calhoun immediately took advantage, driving in both runners with a single to left, making it a 3-1 game.

Bailey appeared to get his first out of the inning on an infield pop up from Nomar Mazara, but both Bailey and Mondesi lost the ball in the sun, allowing the ball to drop safely on the infield grass. Bailey would get his first out on a Hunter Pence strikeout, but would eventually load up the bases by walking Joey Gallo. He was able to get Logan Forsythe down 0-2 but proceeded to throw four straight balls to walk in another run, putting the Rangers up 4-1.

Brad Boxberger replaced Bailey and immediately got a ground ball that could have led to an inning-ending double play, but Ryan O’Hearn threw the ball into left field, allowing two more runs to score, boosting the Ranger lead to 6-1.

The defensive collapse was well outside the norm for this Royals squad. Entering the afternoon, Kansas City was 9th in Defensive Runs Saved and 11th in Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Above Average. They were also leading all of baseball in fielding percentage and had a league-low 14 errors.

The Rangers added three more runs in the 6th, and with that, the blowout was on. They would add three more runs in the 7th and 8th, including an absolute tank off the bat of Rougned Odor. By this point, we got to a position-player-pitching level blowout, with Chris Owings relieving Ian Kennedy. Owings gave up four more runs in the 9th. All in all, the Rangers got into the end zone twice, each with a two-point conversion, for a final score of 16-1.

If there was a positive note from this ballgame, Lopez did reach base four times, twice on doubles and twice on walks. But that was about it. Kansas City falls to 15-29 on the season and will need a loss form the Orioles tonight to avoid the American League cellar.

Next Up: Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, 9:07 PM CDT. RHP Brad Keller (2-4, 4.47 ERA) v. RHP Matt Harvey (1-3, 6.69 ERA)