Adrian Sampson, a 27-year old journeyman, mowed down the Royals in a dominating start, as the Royals dropped yet another road series in a 5-1 loss to Texas. Sampson went seven innings without walking a hitter, while striking out a career high 11. Eight of the nine Royals in the starting lineup struck out at least once as they struck out 13 times overall today. In the four-game series, the Royals struck out 47 times, or in 32 percent of their plate appearances against Texas.
Royals starter Brad Keller had a nice outing of his own, going seven innings without a single walk, while striking out six and allowing three runs. The Rangers got on the board in the second when Keller gave up three singles, including an RBI single to Ronald Guzman. Texas plated two more runs in the fifth when Shin-Soo Choo singled to start the inning, followed by a double by Danny Santana. A wild pitch by Brad Keller would score Choo, an Nomar Mazara singled home Santana to make it 3-0.
The Royals certainly had some scoring opportunities against Sampson, but squandered them with poor situational hitting. They squandered two on with one out in the third, and left Adalberto Mondesi stranded on third after a two-out triple in the fourth, but the biggest missed opportunity came in the fifth. The Royals loaded the bases with no outs and the top of the order coming up, thanks to a couple of bunt singles from Billy Hamilton and Terrance Gore. But Sampson retired Whit Merrifield, Mondesi, and Alex Gordon, the last two via strikeout of course.
Jorge Soler finally got the Royals on the board in the sixth with a solo home run, his 15th of the year. The Royals loaded the bases again in the eighth, but Cam Gallagher was unable to produce any runs. Any hope of a late inning comeback was thrwarted in the bottom of the inning. Jake Diekman was brought in with two outs and one on, and although he has had some recent success, he faltered this afternoon, walking Asdrubal Cabrera, and allowing an RBI double to Nomar Mazara. A wild pitch would score another run, capping off a rough day for Cam Gallagher, and making the score 5-1.
The offense that looked so good for the first two months is going through a bit of a slump, averaging 3.7 runs per game over the last 17 games with a 24 percent strikeout rate. The Royals drop six of seven on this roadtrip and have dropped 15 of their last 20. They still have yet to win a road series this year, and will take a day off before returning home for a nine-game homestand.