Royals pitchers combined to walk eight Rays batters in the first game of the second half in a 7-3 loss to Tampa Bay in the series opener. Brad Keller walked five, hit a batter, and tossed two wild pitches in just four innings of work, throwing just 44 of his 85 pitches for strikes.
The free passes came right out of the gate with Keller walking Yandy Diaz to begin the game. Keller would also walk Randy Arozarena in the first, but worked around two runners to keep the Rays off the board. But in the third, Keller walked #9 hitter Brett Phillips to open the inning, and he would come around to score after a single and an RBI groundout by Arozarena to make it 1-0 Tampa Bay. The Royals would equalize it in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Andrew Benintendi.
But the game would get away from Keller in the fourth. He walked Isaac Paredes to open the inning, and after a Josh Lowe single, Paredes would score on an infield single by Francisco Mejia. Another walk to Phillips would load the bases, and Yandy Diaz brought all three runners home on a double to make it 5-1.
The bullpen would keep things close over the next few innings with shutout innings by Amir Garrett, Dylan Coleman, and Wyatt Mills. The Royals would threaten in the seventh with a pair of runs to make it 5-3. Benintendi drove in his second run of the night to go with two hits, and Hunter Dozier hit a sacrifice fly to knock another run in. Nick Pratto also collected two doubles on the night.
But Josh Staumont would give those runs right back with, of course, another lead off walk. Mejia would double home a run, and Lowe would single another one to make it 7-3.
It is the seventh time this year that Royals pitchers have given up at least eight walks in a game, more than any other team in baseball. Not surprisingly, the Royals have lost every single one of those games. They have given up 363 free passes this year, more than any other team.
The Royals will face off against the Rays again tomorrow night at 6:10 CT with Brady Singer against Luis Patino.