The Royals entered tonight’s series-opener against Tampa Bay having not scored a run since the 1st inning of Monday’s game against the Twins.
The scoreless streak ended, but the offensive slump continued into the 2nd leg of this road trip, with the offense being stifled and ultimately undone by a five-run 7th in a 7-1 loss.
The Rays took an early lead in an otherwise quiet first half of the ball game. Yandy Diaz took Royals starter Max Castillo deep on the 2nd pitch of the game, putting the Rays up 1-0.
Kansas City didn’t have its first proper threat until the 6th, when a Salvador Perez single and Vinnie Pasquantino walk out runners at 1st and 2nd with one out. Perez moved to third on Hunter Dozier’s fielder’s choice before lefty Colin Poche was called upon to face Nick Pratto with two outs. Mike Matheny responded by pinch-hitting Brent Rooker in his place. Rooker lined out to end the inning.
Rays starter Luis Patino looked good in his 5.2 innings of work, holding the Royals scoreless while striking out four.
Castillo nearly matched it, holding the Rays scoreless after the leadoff homer. He gave Kansas City 5.0 innings, giving up just three hits and striking out three.
Amir Garrett gave the Royals 1.1 clean innings before Brad Keller came in for his first relief appearance of the season, when the flood gates opened.
Keller started off his appearance by giving up six consecutive hits, including RBI doubles from Diaz and Randy Arozarena and an RBI single from Brandon Lowe. When the dust settled, it was a 6-0 game.
Keller has given up 22 runs in his last 15.1 innings.
Michael Massey led off the next half inning with a solo homer to end the scoreless streak at 33.1 innings. But the bullpen continued to struggle, as Christian Bethancourt homered off Josh Staumont to make it a 7-1 game, although it would have been 8-1 had Ji-Man Choi not been thrown out at third trying to stretch a double into a triple. Roman Quinn followed the homer immediately with a triple of his own. Although Staumont stranded him at third, he gave up three extra-base hits after being rocked by the Dodgers last week.
Shawn Armstrong shut the Royals down after the Massey homer over the final two games to end the game. Kansas City falls to 48-72 after its fourth consecutive loss, with Brady Singer due to start tomorrow evening in game two of the series.
Up Next: Royals at Rays, Friday, August 19, 2022, 6:10 PM CDT, Tropicana Field. RHP Brady Singer (6-4, 3.29 ERA) v. LHP Shane McClanahan (11-5, 2.28 ERA)