After leading 5-0 in the eighth inning against a team with 44 wins, the Royals turned into the mid-2000s Royals and coughed up the lead in one inning. With the loss, Kansas City loses the season series to Baltimore.
When the game began hours ago, it didn’t take long for the Royals to score off old “friend” Matt Harvey. In the top of the first, Andrew Benintendi ripped an RBI-single to center field — scoring Nicky Lopez and giving Kansas City a 1-0 lead.
Two innings later, Whit Merrifield, the league-leader in stolen bases, made things happen on his own. After doubling with one out, he swiped third and scored on a wild throw. The stolen base was Merrifield’s 40th of the 2021 campaign.
As it came to be, Mike Minor didn’t need all the extra runs of the support. Despite working into trouble in a couple of innings, The 33-year-old held the Orioles scoreless over six innings with three strikeouts and no walks. It was Minor’s ninth-consecutive outing of 5+ innings of work.
In the top of the fifth, the Royals nearly put the game away. With runners at the corners, Lopez pounded a double off the wall in right field to score two runs. However, that was all the insurance they could add off of Harvey.
For the majority of the game, the offense used the small ball approach to manufacture runs. In the top of the seventh, though, Salvador Perez clubbed his 42nd home run to center field — extending the lead to 5-0. The home run gave Perez 194 in his career, which put him ahead of Amos Otis for third in Royals history.
The game was on cruise control until the bottom of the eighth. After Joel Payamps struck out the side in the seventh, Mike Matheny elected to stick with the right-hander for another frame. The move backfired, as the first three men reached and Baltimore tallied its first run of the game. Josh Staumont came on to put out the fire, but only poured gasoline directly on it. Jake Brentz came in to escape with the lead intact — only the opposite occurred. Brentz allowed a game-tying single to former Royal Kelvin Gutierrez.
The nightmare didn’t end there. With the game tied up 5-5, Cedric Mullins lifted a lazy fly ball to right field. Channeling his inner Chip Ambres, Hunter Dozier dropped the ball and allowed two more runs to score. Was that it? Nope. Ryan Mountcastle topped it off with a two-run homer to give the Orioles a nine-run inning. It was the most runs Baltimore has scored in a single inning in five years.
In the top of the ninth, Andrew Benintendi rocked a three-run shot to pull the game within one run, but that was as close as it got.
The Royals, 62-77, finish up the four-game series tomorrow at 6:05 p.m. Carlos Hernandez goes up against John Means.