The Royals found themselves once again needing late-game heroics in order to win but couldn’t find them, this time. Unlike yesterday’s game, they had two different leads early on, but Zack Greinke couldn’t hold down the Angels and Kansas City ultimately lost.
The Royals’ makeshift middle of the order scored first in the bottom of the second. Cleanup hitter Maikel Garcia led off with a double and then Samad Taylor, batting fifth, bunted him over. You usually don’t want your number five hitter bunting guy’s over, especially in the second inning. Freddy Fermin, batting sixth, whacked a single to drive Garcia home but that was the only run the Royals could score in part thanks to Taylor’s sacrifice.
Greinke gave the lead back in the top of the fourth by allowing the first three batters he faced to reach base. Brandon Drury got the RBI single after whacking a pair of home runs yesterday.
The Royals weren’t quite ready to give up, though. Garcia led off and reached base again, this time with a single. Taylor decided to swing the bat this time and, following a Garcia steal of second base, brought him home with another RBI single. That would be the last time a Royals’ player reached scoring position.
Greinke couldn’t hold on in the fifth inning. Taylor Ward doubled and then Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout hit back-to-back, no-doubt home runs to give the Angels a 4-2 lead. The home run was Ohtani’s major league-leading twenty-third bomb. Brooks Kriske, making his Royals debut and first major league appearance since 2021, allowed Jared Walsh to homer on the first pitch he threw in the seventh to complete the scoring.
Greinke had a pretty interesting day, honestly. He’s earned plenty of strikeouts, both looking and swinging, in his career. But today he managed a new one - strike out on an automatic strike. Angels batter Luis Rengifo was not in the box and attentive to the pitcher with eight seconds remaining on the pitch clock with two strikes on him and two outs in the top of the second inning. Greinke also escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth with Rengifo’s help. After hitting him to load them up, Andrew Velazquez smashed a grounder to the right side and Rengifo hit by the ball in play to end the inning. If you’re curious, Velazquez was still credited with a single. The hit would definitely have scored one and maybe two if Rengifo had managed to evade the ball.
The news wasn’t all bad for KC, so long as you’re willing to accept silver linings and moral victories. Garcia had three hits on the day. Matt Beaty also made his Royals’ debut and reached with a single. Carlos Hernández had a scoreless inning in relief. Austin Cox struck out two in a perfect seventh inning - he now has 8.2 hitless innings as a big-league pitcher. With Mike Mayers being designated for assignment to allow the addition of Kriske to the roster, you have to wonder if Cox will be the next man into the rotation.
Still, it might have been nice for the Royals to actually win a series for once.
The Royals will be back on the road tomorrow as they had to Detroit. Jordan Lyles will be seeking his major league-leading twelfth loss. Or maybe he’ll look for his first win of the season. It’s hard to say. In any case, the Tigers will counter with rookie right-hander Reese Olson. He will be making his fourth major league appearance and third start.