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Bruce Chen was the lone bright spot in the Royals 2012 opener. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Royals Give Up Five in 8th in Opening Loss

It’s very easy to overreact to one game.

The Royals didn’t seem like they could hit much of anything from Jered Weaver and the bullpen gave up five runs in the bottom of the eighth to spoil a solid six innings from Bruce Chen in Anaheim.

Chen was solid, throwing strikes and staying ahead of Angels hitters. In six innings, he never went to a three ball count and struck out four while walking none. After a rough spring, Chen came out working the plate and going after a lineup made up of hitters swinging from the right side and held the Angels scoreless, giving way to Aaron Crow.

Crow stepped in and struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh, mowing down Howie Kendrick, Albert Pujols and Torii Hunter. Pujols and Hunter especially looked lost at the plate against Crow. The eighth inning, however, wasn’t as kind to the former first rounder, as three soft singles loaded the bases.

Greg Holland took over, but despite stranding 94% of runners inherited in 2011, all three scored on Friday. An infield chopper from Peter Bourjos allowed the first run to score and kept the bases loaded, and a bases clearing triple from Erick Aybar gave the Angels a cushion. On the big hit, Jeff Francoeur was playing towards center field and couldn’t make it to the spray hit from Aybar.

At the plate, the Royals never figured out Jered Weaver’s slider. The top four batters struck out nine times and went a combined 0-16. The Royals only managed back to back singles in the third inning by Brayan Pena and Alcides Escobar, later adding two hits in the seventh inning with a Jeff Francoeur double and Yuniesky Betancourt single. Francoeur was picked off of second base before Betancourt’s hit, though, but otherwise likely would have scored.

But again, it’s one game out of 162. Greg Holland should be fine. Aaron Crow should be fine. The top four hitters should be fine. If such issues are still present in late May, then concern is warranted. Until then, today’s another day.

In Game 2 of the series, the Royals send Luke Hochevar to face Dan Haren.

Game 1 Scorecard:

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Tags: Aaron Crow AL Central Alcides Escobar Baseball Bruce Chen Kansas City Royals KC KC Royals Lorenzo Cain MLB Royals

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