Back from losing two out of three to the St. Louis Cardinals and back from a 3-6 road trip, the Kansas City Royals fought valiantly against the New York Yankees in the stadium where they had a winning record. The Royals came back to tie it on four separate occasions—in the bottom of the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth innings—but they could not hold back the Yankees in extras. The back of the bullpen frayed, but the real culprit of tonight’s loss was Carlos Santana, who left nine men on base in six hitless plate appearances.
For the first six innings of today’s game, nothing much happened of note. This is good, because the rest of the game was bonkers. Jamison Taillon and Carlos Hernandez simply executed their pitches, neither pitcher completely overpowering the opponent. Taillon was sharper than Hernandez, who was the beneficiary of a handful of well-placed defenders in the shift and some fortunate double plays.
The real stunner of the early innings was a ball that came off Giancarlo Stanton’s bat at 122.2 MPH, which is not a typo. One-hundred and twenty-two point two miles per hour. Unfortunately for Stanton, he hit it into the ground and it was naught but a double play. Baseball is cruel, sometimes. Teach your kids to hit fly balls. It would have hit orbit if Stanton had done so.
The Yankees' specialty rears its head in the first inning! pic.twitter.com/PzR03OVwgx— John Sterling Calls (@JSterlingCalls) August 10, 2021
Hernandez was quite sharp throughout the game. In the top of the seventh inning, though, Hernandez finally ran into some trouble. Aaron Judge yanked an inside curveball down the left field line for a double, and then Gallo singled to place runners at the corner. DJ LeMahieu then tapped a grounder to Hernandez, who was able to throw it to Salvador Perez in time for a play at the plate.
The Yankees challenged, but the play was upheld. For a moment, it looked like Hernandez might squiggle out of the inning with no damage—with Luke Voit at the plate, Hernandez worked to a 1-2 count. But after getting that second strike, Hernandez missed middle-middle. Voit cleanly lined a single, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Josh Staumont came in and closed the inning out with a strikeout and no further damage.
Hernandez ended the night with 6.2 innings pitched, five hits, one run, one walk, and three strikeouts. He’s been nothing but great, lately, as David Lesky pointed out on Twitter:
The book is now closed on Carlos Hernandez. Here are his last three starts:— David Lesky (@DBLesky) August 10, 2021
I think the #Royals are cool with this.
Hernandez still has the heat, but has lately had far better control. He’s only walked two batters per nine innings over his last three starts, which is excellent. On the year, he’s down to a 4.11 ERA and a 3.84 FIP. As beat writer Alec Lewis says: that’ll play.
The Royals did indeed answer the Yankees in the bottom of the seventh. It began when Emmanuel Rivera hit his second single of the evening, a grounder to center. Mike Matheny elected to use Jarrod Dyson as a pinch runner, who advanced to second on a pickoff error. Dyson then took third on a balk call on pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga, which Yankees manager Aaron Boone was miffed enough about to get himself tossed out of the game. Dyson then scored on a sac fly by Ryan O’Hearn to tie it up.
But this back-and-forth game was not over, because the Royals and the Yankees traded blow-for-blow yet again. The Yankees took a 2-1 lead after a series of events that started with Tyler Wade reaching on a catcher’s interference from Cam Gallagher and ending with an Aaron Judge single on Jake Brentz and Scott Barlow, respectively. The Royals scratched another run across after Nicky Lopez poked an opposite-field single, advanced to second on Salvador Perez’s second walk of the game (also not a typo), and scored on an Andrew Benintendi single. All tied up, 2-2...
...until Voit hit a home run in the top of the ninth. Yes, the Yankees regained the lead again. But! This game was not over, for Merrifield walked with two outs in the ninth and stole second base. Then, down to their last strike, Nicky Lopez swatted a single into left field for a game-tying, clutch single.
Unfortunately, Lopez’s heroics did not matter. Richard Lovelady, who gave up the home run to Voit one inning earlier, gave up a pair of singles and a sac fly in the top of the tenth to make it 5-3, Yankees. Wade Davis managed to mop it up, and the Royals somehow managed to come back yet again to tie it in the tenth inning on the bat of Hanser Alberto.
In the 12th inning, well, Greg Holland imploded—giving up four baserunners (and somehow only two runs). And in the bottom of the 12th inning, with two baserunners and representing the winning run, Santana grounded out to third base. Six trips to the plate, six times with men on base, and zero hits or walks. A fitting end. Still, the Royals did something no other modern team has done, and managed to do so and lose the game. Always true to their roots.
The @Royals are the first team in the modern era to erase a deficit in the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th innings in the same game.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) August 10, 2021
With tonight’s loss, the Royals have now lost 8 of their last 13 games and stand 48-63, on pace for 70 wins on the year.