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Royals bullpen blows late lead, lose 5-3 to White Sox

The winning streak ends at six.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It was a great game for like, 85% of the way.

Brad Keller pitched very well, piloting the Royals into the 8th inning with a 3-1 lead. They looked like they were set to win their seventh straight game. But then... then the bullpen happened.

First off, it was questionable to pull Brad Keller when they did. He was absolutely cruising and only at 90 pitches through seven, having only allowed four hits on the night. Mike Matheny pulled him and went to Jake Brentz, who went double-HBP-scorching groundout to put two men in scoring position with one out. Brentz got Yoan Moncada to ground into an RBI 4-3, so they were one out away from getting out of it with a 3-2 lead.

Matheny then opted for Kyle Zimmer, who has been productive in the fireman role on the year, but the last couple of weeks have been rough. They intentionally walked Jose Abreu to face Eloy Jimenez, who absolutely clobbered a 459-foot bomb that cleared the fountains in left-center field. It bounced off the base of the Miller Lite sign way up there. A friend of mine that was at the game said it was one of the loudest home runs he’s ever heard.

The Jimenez homer, by the way, was awesome. It was one of the farthest balls I’ve ever seen hit at Kauffman. He’s probably going to wear one tomorrow for the slow trot to first base, but it was an awesome homer.

It was a disappointing ending to a really good night, or at least a really good first part of the night. The Royals jumped on White Sox starter Dylan Cease early, getting him for two runs in the second and another in the fourth. The runs came courtesty of Hunter Dozier (sac fly), Andrew Benintendi (the right fielder kind of dropped a should-have-been-lineout), and Ryan O’Hearn (RBI single).

Keller cruised through seven, finishing with a line of 7.0 innings, four hits, four strikeouts, and one run. It was his 26th birthday today, and he deserved to get a win. Instead, his bullpen blew it.

The Royals missed a few chances to do further damage earlier in the game, like Michael A. Taylor being sent home to be thrown out by three steps. It was one of the worst sends I’ve ever seen. Hunter Dozier got caught stealing. Whit Merrifield got thrown out stretching a single into a double. Plenty of tootblans tonight. They didn’t threaten at all after the White Sox took the lead in the eighth, either. Six batters, six outs.

The winning streak is over, and the record is 43-56. Maybe Dayton Moore will sell now (hahaha just kidding). The series continues tomorrow, when Kris Bubic faces Lucas Giolito. First pitch is at 7:10 pm.