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The Royals claw back but can’t overcome bad pitching, fall 12-8 in series opener

Royals pitchers allowed 17 hits and walked 7. Yikes

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals clawed their way back in tonight’s series opener against the Oakland Athletics but ultimately couldn’t pull off the comeback. The A’s put up crooked numbers in the third and fifth innings, putting Kansas City in a deep hole early on. Brad Keller started this one for the Royals and struggled from the very first inning. Former Royals prospect, Esteury Ruiz, started the night with a single to right field. He would eventually come around to score the game’s opening run.

In total, the Athletics posted a season-high 17 hits — 11 coming off of Keller. Oakland added a single and double in the second, but Keller worked out of trouble. He wasn’t as lucky in the third inning. After walking the leadoff man, Brent Rooker made him pay by hitting a home run 423 feet to left field. Rooker, you might recall, spent 2022 with the Royals’ organization after being acquired in a trade for Cam Gallagher. He appeared in 14 games for Kansas City last season.

The very next hitter, Ramon Laureano, added a big fly of his own to extend the Athletics’ lead to four. Oakland would go on to add another run in the fourth inning on a Rooker double and then ended Keller’s night with a four-run fifth inning. In total, Brad Keller’s seventh start of the season lasted just 4.1 innings. He allowed 11 hits, six earned runs, and walked four. He had just one strikeout.

The Royals’ lineup did their best to fight back against Oakland starting pitcher, Kyle Muller. Muller last into the sixth inning but allowed the Royals to score in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. In all, he allowed eight hits over 5.1 innings pitched. Kansas City tagged him for five runs. Salvador Perez singled with two outs in the bottom of the fourth before Nick Pratto got them on the board first. He belted a 422-foot blast over the center field wall, his first of the season, to bring Kansas City within three, by a score of 5-2.

The Athletics inning that followed saw them notch a leadoff walk, two singles, and two doubles. Brad Keller allowed a sixth run to cross the plate before Jonathan Heasley entered in relief with a man on second base. A Nick Allen single allowed that man to score but it wouldn’t end there. A single by Esteury Ruiz and a double by Ryan Noda extended the Oakland lead to 9-2 before Heasley escaped the fifth on a strikeout of Brent Rooker. The Athletics wouldn’t get on the board again until the eighth inning.

The Royals’ offense was rolling as the night went on. They loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but ultimately scored just one run on a sacrifice fly to right field by Vinnie Pasquantino. They loaded them up again in the home sixth, but scored just two runs on a ground-out and another sacrifice fly. Then, for a third straight inning, Kansas City filled the bases in the home half of the seventh. This time, they cleared them.

Edward Olivares scored from third on a Matt Duffy sacrifice fly. In the ensuing at-bat, two men came in to score on a poorly played line drive to center field, resulting in an RBI triple for Hunter Dozier. The Royals had pulled within one, but the 9-8 score would be as close as they came in this one. Josh Taylor entered out of the bullpen in the eighth. He walked three Oakland batters and allowed two to score. The Royals went 1-2-3 in the home half before Carlos Hernández allowed another run to cross the plate in the ninth.

The Royals got the leadoff man aboard in four of the game's final five innings but couldn’t overcome the deficit. The final score in this one ended up 12-8, Athletics. Kansas City falls to 8-24 on the season. They are now 2-15 at home.

Notes from tonight’s game:

  • The Athletics notched a season-high 17 hits and walked seven times.
  • Friday night marked just the fifth time this season that Oakland held a lead in the 7th inning. They are now 1-4 when leading in the 7th inning.
  • The Royals loaded the bases in three consecutive innings from the 5th-7th. Their 8 runs scored are the 5th most in a game this season.
  • In the month of May, the Royals have scored 7.75 runs per game. They’ve allowed 9 runs per game, including Wednesday’s shutout victory over Baltimore.

Next up: Brady Singer (2-3, 8.49) gets the start tomorrow against lefty Ken Waldichuk (0-2, 7.26). Start time, 6:10 CT. Singer is 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA in three starts against the Athletics in his career.