After an impressive showing for their bullpen Tuesday night, the Royals blew a three-run lead in the ninth to lose to St. Louis, 6-5.
For the first time since August 7th, Jakob Junis climbed the bump for Kansas City. With Cam Gallagher as his catcher, Junis started things off with two scoreless frames and racked up four strikeouts. In the top of the third, Gallagher helped out his pitcher with a two-run blast into the bullpen in left field. Gallagher’s first home run of the year gave the Royals a 2-0 lead.
The Cardinals gave Junis a scare in the home half of the third. With two runners on, Paul Goldschmidt lifted a fly ball to the warning track in left field, but Alex Gordon pulled it down against the wall. However, it would score a run on a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit in half.
One inning later, St. Louis would break through with two outs and a runner in scoring position. On a 2-1 count, rookie outfielder Dylan Carlson poked an RBI-double to the opposite field to tie the game at two. That hit would chase Junis from the game after just 3 2⁄3 innings of work. The right-hander tallied six strikeouts and walked just one in his first start off the Injured List.
In just the fourth inning, Mike Matheny would go back to his bullpen. The first man on in relief was Jake Newberry, who notched the final out of the fourth inning to strand Carlson at second base. Greg Holland piggybacked Newberry with a clean fifth inning and Ian Kennedy worked around trouble in the sixth to keep the game deadlocked.
After Scott Barlow pitched a scoreless seventh, Matheny went to his bench to spark the offense. The man he called on was Ryan “Boom-Boom” McBroom, who already had a pinch-hit home run in 2020. With two strikes, McBroom barreled a slider down in the zone and disposed it 420 feet from home plate. It was McBroom’s fourth home run of the season and gave the Royals a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning.
Surprisingly, Josh Staumont was the first pitcher out of the Royals bullpen to struggle. The righty gave up a soft lead-off single and walked two to load the bases with one out. In a high-leverage spot, Matheny brought in Trevor Rosenthal for a five-out save. Needing just six pitches, Rosenthal struck out Carlson and Kolten Wong to end the threat.
In the ninth inning, Kansas City received a massive break to get some breathing room. With two outs and runners at the corners, Whit Merrifield ripped a liner into the left-center field gap. Tyler O’Neil, who didn’t take the best route, missed the ball on a lunging attempt - leading to two more runs.
Rosenthal recorded two outs in the ninth, but loaded the bases, which ran up his pitch count. Randy Rosario came on for the final out, but hit a batter, allowed a single off of Maikel Franco’s glove to tie the game at five and walked in the game-winning run.
The Royals, now 12-19, have on off-day Thursday before traveling to Chicago to take on baseball’s hottest team in the White Sox. Danny Duffy will square off with Reynaldo López Friday night. First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. CDT on FSKC.