A night after the Kansas City Royals lost a complete blowout to the Oakland Athletics, the Royals demonstrated their impeccable ability to be defeated in a cornucopia of fashions by losing a one-run game to the same Athletics, 2-1. While it was closer, it wasn’t nearly as fun.
Mike Montgomery offered a quality start—both in the technical sense and the realistic one—to give the Royals a great chance to win the game. It wasn’t always a given, though, as Monty wriggled out of a few early messes. The first mess was in the first inning after third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert made an error. It would have been the last out of the inning, but an infield single and a walk would score a run that shouldn’t have scored. But a great throw by Meibrys Viloria evened it out a bit by throwing out Marcus Semien at third base to help Monty through his second inning jam.
After that, Montgomery cruised, allowing a total of three baserunners from the third inning through the sixth inning. He notched six strikeouts against three walks, allowing two runs (one earned). And the bullpen backed him up, too. Kevin McCarthy, Scott Barlow, and Ian Kennedy combined for three scoreless, hitless innings. Viloria again flexed his arm in the top of the ninth by catching Jurickson Profar for the last out of the inning—the second out coming mere seconds before after Seth Brown swung and missed at the previous pitch.
But, alas, the Royals offense was not up to snuff. While they could get batters on, they were particularly inept at converting those baserunners into runs. A lack of power was a prime culprit; of the team’s nine hits, seven were singles, with a pair of doubles. Alex Gordon’s sixth inning double resulted in the one run on the evening for Kansas City.
I’ll save you the pain of the play by play: the Royals left 15 men on base, and four Royals—Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, Bubba Starling, and Viloria—left at least three each. Kansas City threatened to score in multiple innings, but poor situational hitting and a bizarre decision to send Viloria home on a single to left field contributed to the lack of offense.
The Royals are 46-87. The season is, mercifully, about a month away from ending.