Seattle brought just enough of their many baserunners home and Kansas City failed to do the same as the Royals fell 6-5 tonight.
Things went off the rails early on for Kansas City. Pitching as an opener for the first time, James McArthur didn’t have it. Three of the first five batters reached base and scored, capped off by Cal Raleigh’s two-run homer. The Royals rallied in the bottom of the inning when Maikel Garcia led off with a double and later scored on a Michael Massey sacrifice fly. They had potential for more with consecutive singles by Salvador Perez (just your regular 407 ft single) and MJ Melendez, but they were stranded to end the inning, leaving the Royals with a 3-1 deficit through one.
The second inning was startlingly similar to the first. Alec Marsh entered and picked up right where McArthur left off, going lineout, double, stolen base, walk, single to give the run right back. Seattle would load the bases with two outs but Marsh made a slick play to home on a tapper to end the threat. Drew Waters would follow Garcia’s lead by leading off the inning with an extra-base hit, this one a triple. He would come to score on another sac fly, this one by Kyle Isbel, to bring the score to 4-2.
Seemingly determined to give that run back again, Marsh allowed a leadoff double to Raleigh and walked Marlow on four “balls.” This time, he managed to keep the scoreboard stationary with a couple Ks and a flyout. Through three innings, McArthur and Marsh combined to throw 68 pitches, allowing six hits and two walks. At least the offense remained within striking distance. That offense came through with a two out rally. Perez dumped one into left to reach and then showed off the hustle by scoring from first on a double off the wall by Melendez. It looked like Marsh may finally put together a clean inning in the fourth when he quickly retired Julio Rodríguez and Eugenio Suárez, but he then walked consecutive batters. Fortunately, Matt Beaty bailed him out with an excellent diving stop at first base.
From there, both starting pitchers settled in. Well, sort of. Marsh’s outing was the definition of “gutting it out.” In only one of his five innings did he not allow multiple baserunners, yet he managed to only surrender one run. Luis Castillo, meanwhile, looked to be on cruise control before loading the bases with one out in the sixth. However, he coaxed a double play from Nelson Velázquez and a popup from Isbel to limit the damage to one run. Regardless, the Royals managed to enter the seventh with the game tied. Austin Cox almost allowed a two-out rally in that inning, but he picked Jose Caballero off first base to prevent any damage. Kansas City’s run of escaping jams finally came to an end when Dylan Coleman, who remains quite simply not the pitcher that he was last year, loaded the bases with one out in the eighth (though it didn’t help that the leadoff man reached thanks to Garcia booting a ball at third). He got Teoscar Hernández to hit a flyball pretty shallow in foul territory down the right field line. Velázquez made the play on it and fired home, but Dylan Moore scored on a bang-bang play that was upheld on review, giving Seattle a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, old friend Gabe Speier walked pinch-hitter Matt Duffy and pinch-runner Dairon Blanco swiped second, but he was stranded there. In the top of the ninth, Rodríguez tacked on an insurance run with his fourth knock of the game. That run would prove to be crucial. The Royals at least did not go down without a fight as Velázquez bashed his third homer as a Royal leading off the ninth, cutting the deficit to 6-5. The rally stopped there, however, as the next three batters went down in order to end the game.
The loss drops Kansas City to 39-83. They will try for a series split tomorrow afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
Alec Marsh: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 0 HR
Luis Castillo: 7.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR
MJ Melendez: 3-4, 2B, R, RBI
Julio Rodríguez: 4-6, 2B, R, 2 RBI