If you watch the Royals to see Norichika Aoki's slapstick routine, then you were quite pleased on Sunday, as the rightfielder managed to fall down in the field and on the basepaths. If you actually wanted to witness a KC victory, then better luck next time, as the Royals fell to the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0.
Aoki's first instance of looking completely uncordinated came in the top of the third. Aoki, only on second base because Alcides Escobar was caught in a rundown trying to advance from second to third on a grounder, saw a Mark Buehrle pitch slip past Dioner Navarro. The outfielder thought about advancing to third himself, but Navarro recovered quickly. Aoki slipped and fell attempting to get back to second, but Navarro couldn't capitalize, spiking the ball into the ground instead of making an accurate throw.
Here's the .gif of the play, courtesy Jonah Birenbaum of The Score:
Aoki's second instance of falling down came in the bottom of the fourth. Juan Francisco hit a flyball to right, which Aoki misjudged. He closed in too quickly, then tried to correct himself, leaping in the air in an attempt to catch the ball. Unfortunately, the ball flew over Aoki's head and his only comfort was the cold, unforgiving ground.
Both plays made me laugh, which probably isn't the reaction I should have when watching incompetence on my favorite baseball team. But it was just about my only source of enjoyment during the game.
Buehrle completely dominated the Royals lineup, tossing eight scoreless innings. Kansas City didn't have a runner reach third base all game despite two leadoff doubles; baserunning gaffes by Eric Hosmer and Escobar gave the southpaw some extra outs he didn't really need. Buehrle kept the Royals off-balance in expected fashion, only striking out three but issuing one walk, forcing a lot of weak contact.
Jeremy Guthrie countered with seven strong innings, allowing two runs on eight hits. Navarro clubbed a hanging breaking ball in the bottom of the second for a solo homer, and Francisco scored later in the fourth inning on an Anthony Gose grounder. Still, you gladly take seven innings and two earned runs from Guthrie (or any starting pitcher) every single time.
Aaron Crow gave up the last two Toronto runs in the eighth on an Edwin Encarnacion two-run dinger. Encarnacion has more home runs in June then the entire Royals team put together.
The Royals travel to St. Louis on Monday to play a pair of game against the Cardinals in Busch Stadium. Danny Duffy will start the opener, facing off against Shelby Miller.