There was one good thing that happened tonight. It was, as you might expect, a Jorge Soler Moment. The Cuban shot a missile into the left field in the sort of no-doubt moonshot that Kansas City Royals fans have enjoyed repeatedly over the past few seasons. The ball leapt off Soler’s bat at 109.1 MPH and went an estimated 443 feet. Here’s video evidence! It was great!
It was a homer of the three-run variety, as Whit Merrifield and Hunter Dozier—who had walked, and whose walk rate on the season is an impressive 18.9%—were on base.
Unfortunately, that one moment was the only piece of joy Royals fans would experience, as the St. Louis Cardinals pummeled Royals pitching and dominated in the 9-3 victory.
Many of those runs were charged to Brad Keller, who had a pristine ERA of 0.00 coming into tonight. Keller allowed one run in the bottom of the first, but ran into big trouble in the bottom of the fifth. Three consecutive singles by Tommy Edman, Brad Miller, and Paul Goldschmidt—the last of which went off Keller’s glove, and would have been at least one out on the ground otherwise—put Keller in a bind and two runs on the board. After Keller walked Matt Carpenter to load the bases, Mike Matheny elected to replace Keller with Greg Holland.
It did not work. Holland, whose strikeout rate this season has been a pedestrian 22%, did not not strike out anyone. Though Holland did induce a double play from Dylan Carson, he hit two batters and allowed two doubles. When Holland left, he had gone scorched earth, leaving behind a 6-0 Cardinals lead in the burning wreckage of what had been a competitive game.
To recap the rest of the game would be unnecessary. Goldschmidt homered off of Chance Adams in the sixth inning, a two-run blast that greeted Adams in his first Royals appearance of the year. Adams allowed another run in the seventh after allowing consecutive hits to Bader and Edman. Kyle Zimmer walked three Cardinals batters in the bottom of the eighth, but was somehow able to wiggle out of his bases loaded mess without surrendering a run.
Kansas City’s batters, meanwhile, were utterly stymied by Cardinals pitchers. Starter Jack Flaherty lowered his ERA under the 2.00 threshold after tossing five innings, notching three strikeouts, and only giving up one hit. Soler had a two-hit game, adding a single of his own in addition to a home run. Otherwise, the only Royals baserunners that weren’t due to Cardinals fielding errors (of which there were three) were the aforementioned Dozier walk, a meaningless Nicky Lopez single in the ninth inning, and Meibrys Viloria’s opposite field double and walk of his own.
The Royals are now 11-18. Tomorrow, they will continue the I-70 series with the Cardinals, who are now 10-8. If you’re looking for consolation, consider that the Royals have played 21 of their 29 games against teams with a winning record. But if you’re looking for a respite, the Royals are also likely to have played 37 of their 45 games against teams with a winning record through September 10, so buckle up.