The Kansas City Royals still haven’t won a game started by Jordan Lyles, although it looked like they might finally do it on Friday. Lyles started his night giving up a leadoff home run to Lane Thomas. It was an MLB-leading 15th home run allowed this season by the Kansas City starter. After that though, he settled in, pitching four consecutive scoreless innings.
The Royals tried to get their scoring started early. MJ Melendez walked to load the bases in the first inning. Then, on a 3-2 count, Edward Olivares grounded out to end the inning but the Royals made Washington’s starting pitcher, Patrick Corbin, throw 28 pitches.
The game entered the home fourth with the same score of 1-0. Again at the plate, Melendez barely missed a home run following a double by Bobby Witt Jr. Instead, he walked. With Olivares at the plate and the double steal on, Keibert Ruiz’s throw to third went into the outfield. Witt Jr. would come in to score and tie the game at 1. Maikel Garcia followed it up with his seventh double of the season, a scorcher at 107 mph into left field to score Melendez and take the lead. The Royals would hold the lead until the top of the 6th inning. After five, it looked like Jordan Lyles might actually be in line for the victory. Not so fast.
In the top of the 6th, the Nationals’ designated hitter, Joey Meneses, tied up the game with an RBI double. A Corey Dickerson three-run home run later in the inning would give the Nationals a 5-2 lead and end the night for Lyles. Josh Staumont entered in relief for the Royals before Luis Garcia’s fourth hit brought in two more Nationals runs. Garcia would finish his night six for six.
The very next batter was Joey Meneses (again) who singled in two-more runners to cap off the inning. The Nationals batted around to the tune of 6 hits — including three doubles and a home run — and eight runs. That was the most runs in an inning by Washington since September 2019. Lyles was charged with five earned runs on the night, and Staumont with four.
To lead off the Royals' sixth inning, Bobby Witt Jr. hit his eighth home run on the season, turning a breaking ball low and inside around and into the left field bullpen at 107 mph. Kansas City trailed 9-3 at that point.
Home run No. 8 for Bobby Witt Jr. Crazy strength on a pitch that low. pic.twitter.com/iqFeOxS31n— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) May 27, 2023
The Nationals kept starting pitcher Patrick Corbin in the game for the seventh inning to face the Royals’ lineup for a fourth time. Kansas City was able to load the bases with no outs. With them loaded, Vinnie Pasquantino popped out to third base, and Washington went to the bullpen for Erasmo Ramirez to face Salvador Perez. Ramirez entered the night with a 5.18 ERA and immediately gave up a tight-rope double down the left field line to bring the Royals within four.
After Salvy’s double, with two men on, Bobby Witt Jr. — already three for three on the night — launched his second home run of the night. It was the first multi-home run game at Kauffman Stadium for Witt and brought the Royals within one run. In all, the Royals finished the home seventh with five runs on five hits.
The eighth inning was headlined by Edward Olivares — and not in a good way. To lead off the inning, Luis Garcia singled on a soft blooper to left field. The ball fell in front of Olivares, who seemed to be jogging on the play. The expected batting average on the play was just .180. Two batters later, Jeimer Candelario did close to the same thing on a soft blooper to left that not only dropped but then bobbled around the left-field corner. Candelario had a two-run triple while Olivares bumbled around searching for the baseball. The expected batting average on the play? Even worse at .050.
Despite the miscues, the young Kansas City lineup continued to claw their way back. In the bottom of the eighth, the Royals got two men on for Vinnie Pasquantino, thanks to a Drew Waters single and a Michael Massey walk. After starting his night 0-for-4, “Pasquatch” came through with a single to right field, loading the bases for Salvador Perez. Yet again, the Royals’ Captain came through with an opposite-field single this time to bring in a run — his third RBI on the night.
The night belonged to Bobby Baseball, and he came through again with the bases loaded. He grounded a weak ground ball to the left side but beat out the turn on the double play, scoring Michael Massey from third base. The Royals were back within two runs. Witt Jr. finished the night with a career-high five RBIs. Unfortunately, the two-run deficit would prove to be as close as they would get.
As Jake Eisenberg put it to end the broadcast, “The Royals battled, clawed, and rallied, but it wasn’t enough tonight.”
Notes from tonight’s game:
- Bobby Witt Jr. finished his night with a single, double, and two home runs. He was just a triple shy of the cycle. The last Royals cycle? July 25, 1990, by George Brett.
- Bobby Baseball had a career-high five RBIs on the night. Since being moved down the batting order, he’s 7 for 17.
- The Nationals scored a season-high 12 runs, including 8 in the 6th inning alone. It was their most runs in a single inning since 2019.
Next up: Brady Singer (3-4, 7.48 ERA) gets the start tomorrow afternoon against Josiah Gray (4-5, 2.65 ERA). Start time, 3:10 CT. Singer has never faced Washington in his career but is 5-3 with a 4.60 ERA in interleague play.