Lost Opportunities Haunt Royals in Loss

Kyle Davies posted his second consecutive good start Saturday night, but the Royals managed just one run – a Kila Ka’aihue bomb to right field – in their second loss to the Rangers in Arlington.

Davies followed up a seven strikeout, no walk night last Monday by scattering four hits over six innings and shut the last ten Rangers batters he faced.  Over the last two games, he’s walked just one and struck out ten in 12 innings and deserved a win both times.

Tonight, it was a rough third inning that did him in.

After a ground out by Ian Kinsler, Davies walked Elvis Andrus.  Michael Young singled, moving him to third where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Adrian Beltre.  Young then stole second and scored on a Nelson Cruz single.

They were the only two earned runs he gave up.

It’s encouraging to see his control over the last two games, but he also ran up a lot of counts in the first three innings.  He racked up 79 pitches in the first half of his start and started behind in the count to 13 of the 24 batters he faced.

He got in a groove during innings 4-6 though, striking out two and getting five ground ball outs.  He only threw 33 pitches in his last three innings.

Tim Collins and Louis Coleman each threw a shutout inning, with Coleman looking particularly nasty.

The offensive just didn’t produce.  The Royals worked just one walk and stranded eight runners, including six in the first three innings.  Billy Butler popped out with Alex Gordon and Melky Cabrera on first and third respectively and Jeff Francoeur grounded out to strand them both in the first.  In the second, Ka’aihue walked and Matt Treanor reached on an error.  Alcides Escobar and Chris Getz flew out.

The third inning presented their best opportunity, as Cabrera led off with a double over Mitch Moreland‘s head.  Alex Gordon reached on a pitch that hit him in the knee and with Butler, Francoeur and Wilson Betemit coming up, they should have scored, but Butler struck out on a high fastball, Francoeur lined out to center and Betemit struck out to end the inning.  They never got more than one runner on the rest of the night.

Their only run came on a leadoff homer in the sixth inning as Ka’aihue turned on a low 94 mph fastball from Alexi Ogando that reached the upper deck.  He’s 5 for his last 14 (though he has struck out five times in that same stretch).  Hopefully, he’s regaining his confidence and turning his season around.

Tomorrow the Royals send Bruce Chen (3-0, 2.42) against C.J. Wilson (2-0, 3.08) in the series finale.  The Royals look to salvage a win at least, as this is the first series they’ve lost in 2011.  For anyone paying attention to the standings, the Royals stay a game behind Cleveland in the AL Central, as they lost 10-3 to the Twins.

Alex Gordon (who showed no signs of injury after the bean ball) and Jeff Francoeur look to extend their hitting streaks.  Gordon’s single pushed his mark to 17 straight, while Francoeur has hit in 13 straight.

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Topics: AL Central, Alexi Ogando, Baseball, Kansas City Royals, KC, Kila Kaaihue, Kyle Davies, MLB, Royals

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