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Bullpen blows lead, Royals fall to Reds 5-2

“The two most important things in life are good friends and a strong bullpen.”

Cincinnati Reds v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Royals couldn’t piggyback their impressive come-from-behind win on Tuesday night, as they dropped the rubber match to the Reds on Wednesday afternoon, 5-2.

Coming into the day, Brady Singer hadn’t pitched six innings since June 11th at Oakland. One of the glaring reasons as to why Singer struggled to work deep into games was because of his first inning issues. However, on Wednesday, the right-hander worked around a one-out single and tossed a scoreless first inning.

Unfortunately for Singer, the Royals’ offense needed him to be perfect in facing Sonny Gray. It wasn’t until the bottom of the third that Kansas City approached its first opportunity to break through. Michael A. Taylor, who was one of the heroes last night, led off the inning with a blooper to center field. Shortly after, Nicky Lopez pushed him to third with a single to right-center — making it first and third with nobody out. The TOOTBLANs, however, took over the inning. Whit Merrifield popped out in foul territory, Taylor was back picked on third base, and Andrew Benintendi struck out.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Royals received their shot at redemption on a blunder by the Cincinnati defense. With runners at first and second, Jorge Soler dribbled a ball to third baseman Eugenio Suárez. Despite a low chance of turning the double play, the Reds made an attempt...which went poorly. Singer’s college teammate, Jonathan India, tried to make a quick turn and fired the ball off Ryan O’Hearn’s head at second base. On the ricochet, Carlos Santana came around to score. Taylor, who needed to redeem himself from his 3rd inning TOOTBLAN, dropped an RBI-single to left field to make it 2-0.

With a 2-0 lead, Singer continued to limit traffic on base paths. The 24-year-old worked into the seventh inning, but was pulled after allowing a lead-off single. Scott Barlow was the first man out of the bullpen and had far from his best stuff. In a matter of minutes, Barlow allowed three consecutive hits and coughed up the lead. India pounded a go-ahead double to give the Reds a 3-2 lead.

After the Royals went down quietly in the bottom of the seventh, a heavy storm rolled in — causing a lengthy delay. When play resumed at 4:40 p.m. CT, Kyle Zimmer was called on to keep the deficit to one. However, Shogo Akiyama ripped an opposite field RBI-double to pad Cincinnati’s lead to 4-2.

In the bottom of the eighth, Kansas City looked to replicate the success it had in the final two innings of Tuesday’s game. With nobody out, the Royals loaded the bases on two walks and a bunt single. Hunter Dozier came to the dish with a chance to tie or take the lead, but flew out to the warning track in left field — ending the threat.

The Royals, 36-50, head to Cleveland for a four-game series to close out the first half of the season. The Tribe have lost nine games in a row and were just no-hit for the third time this year. Danny Duffy will get the ball on Thursday and square off with Zach Plesac. First pitch is slated for 6:10 p.m. CT.