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Strong Keller start wasted in 4-1 loss to Baltimore

Barnes blows up.

Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Brad Keller was sharp in six shutout innings, but the bullpen gave up a combined four runs in the seventh and eighth to waste the effort in a 4-1 loss to Baltimore.

The Royals took an early lead off Orioles starter Dylan Bundy in the second inning. Alex Gordon led the inning off with a single, and Ryan O’Hearn pushed him to third with a single of his own. Meibrys Viloria collected his ninth RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 Royals.

Keller was impressive, going six innings and sprinkling just three hits without allowing a run. Only one Orioles runner reached scoring position, and Keller would allow just two walks, while striking out four. In his last nine starts, Keller has a 2.74 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 59 innings. He also had some help from his defense.

But the bullpen would not be as supportive. Keller was lifted after six innings and 80 pitches because the Royals are trying to limit his innings. Richard Lovelady came in the game for the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Jace Peterson. Lovelady failed to cover first on a ground ball to Whit Merrifield to put two runners on, and Rio Ruiz made it hurt with an RBI single to tie the game.

In the eighth, Jacob Barnes came on and walked the leadoff hitter Trey Mancini, which probably elicited an ominous warning from Denny Matthews in the radio booth about how leadoff walks will kill you. That warning came to fruition, as Barnes would also walk Jace Peterson, and with two outs, gave up a three-run home run to Hanser Alberto to put the Orioles on top.

The offense wasn’t much help either, with just six hits and the lone run. The Royals have scored just 16 runs in their last seven games, hitting just .181 as a team over that time. Bubba Starling went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, and Hunter Dozier went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, leaving three runners on base. Jorge Soler fared well upon being moved up to the #2 hole, going 1-for-3 with a walk, although he did strike out twice.

The Royals fall to 45-81 and will play the rubber match tomorrow evening against the Orioles with Mike Montgomery taking the mound against Aaron Brooks at 6:05 CT at Camden Yards in Baltimore.