Let’s not bury the lede here: the Kansas City Royals and the Minnesota Twins played a baseball game, which the Twins won 2-1. During that game, however, the Royals hit into a triple play. This is rare enough; the last triple play the Royals hit into occurred on April 20, 2012, a game that featured the Holy Trinity of Yuniesky Betancourt, Chris Getz, and Jeff Francoeur. But today’s triple play happened in an oh-so-Royal way—via a bunt. That’s right, folks: Nicky Lopez bunted into a triple play, popping out to Miguel Sano at first and leaving Jarrod Dyson and Cam Gallagher, who were both running on the play, out to dry.
The game was a one-run game, but it should have not been. That terrible, awful pop-up bunt was just the crowning achievement in a game where the Twins simply outplayed the Royals.
The struggling Brady Singer dealt with 11 runners on the day—eight hits, and three walks—in his 5.2 innings. Singer allowed runners wire-to-wire, from walking the second batter of the game to leaving two men on when he left in the sixth.
Despite the very full basepaths, Singer managed to avoid the Big Inning that has doomed him in the past, which is why the score was so close. In the third inning, Andrelton Simmons and Alex Kirilloff singled, and Miguel Sano followed with a double that scored Simmons. The play ended when Benintendi nailed Kirilloff at third base, who was doing...something? It was pretty dumb on his part.
Singer also encountered serious trouble in both the fourth and fifth innings, coaxing a ground ball double play in the fourth and striking out a pair in the fifth to wiggle out of those jams—though Singer did allow a run in the fifth.
Offensively, everyone not named Whit Merrifield did not seem like they wanted to be there today. The non-Merrifield contingent combined for four hits—all singles—and one walk against 11 strikeouts. No Royals batter reached base from the fifth through the eighth innings. It wasn’t like the Twins had a single dominant pitcher, either; six Twins pitched today, with all six recording at least one strikeout.
To its credit, the Royals bullpen gave the team a fighting chance, pitching 3.1 scoreless innings. But the Royals couldn’t create a good plate appearance together to save their life. Merrifield doubled to lead off the ninth but, for the Royals’ second straight loss, they could not bring the tying run home from scoring position despite there being no outs on the board. The game ended with Mike Matheny electing to rely on Kelvin Gutierrez and his MLB career 68 wRC+ to get a hit rather than pinch hitting with Hunter Dozier or Jorge Soler, but I guess Matheny just wanted to go home, too.
The Royals stand at 29-28, one loss away from .500 again. Their last three losses have been one-run contests against the Twins, all of which they could have won with better execution. Tomorrow, they head to California for a seven-game road trip against the Los Angeles Angeles and the Oakland Athletics before coming back to the K for a mid-month set against the Detroit Tigers.