The Kansas City Royals dropped the rubber match of a 3-game series against the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim Sunday afternoon, 4-3, in an all-too familiar fashion.
Both starters were rewarded with no-decisions on a day the Royals, once again, did not hit a home run and were out-slugged.
The Royals scratched out three runs in the third off starter Garrett Richards. Jimmy Paredes, starting at third base in place of Danny Valencia, who was nursing a sore left hand, hit a one-out single and moved to second on a balk. Pedro Ciriaco got his first run batted in on the season, hitting a soft double to center, scoring Paredes for 1-0 lead. After Jarrod Dyson singled, moving Ciriaco to third, Eric Hosmer hit a foul ball, sacrifice fly to left scoring Ciriaco to make it 2-0. Dyson stole second, and Billy Butler walked. Alex Gordon hit an RBI single to center, scoring Dyson for a 3-0 lead.
That was all the Royals would get. It wasn’t enough.
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In the bottom of the seventh, Chris Iannetta singled off Royals starter Jason Vargas who struck out the next batter, Kole Calhoun. Royals Manager Ned Yost, with another head-scratcher, brought in a right-hander to fac the left-handed hitting Raul Ibanez. Vargas had thrown 109 pitches and could have been an option for a lefty-lefty match up with Ibanez. Or, Tim Collins, who came in the next inning was available. Yost, however, brought in Kelvin Herrera to face Ibanez, who greeted Herrera’s first pitch by singling to right. After Howie Kendrick flew to center, Mike Trout doubled in one, Albert Pujols was hit by a pitch and David Freese singled in two to make it 3-3. It could have easily been 4-3, but an out call on a tag play on Pujols by Salvador Perez, who took a throw from Lorenzo Cain on a C.J. Cron single was upheld after review.
Let’s recap: the Royals held even after they had a typical “Royals” small-ball inning of single-balk-bloop double-single-sacrifice fly-stolen base-walk-single. Whew! That’s a lot of work.
The Angles scored in typical “Royals” small-ball fashion, too: single-single-double-hit by a pitch-single. Double Whew! That’s a lot of work. But that’s how the Royals do it. One base at a time.
The difference? Iannetta hit a solo shot off Collins in the eighth. A home run, in familiar fashion, is once again the difference in the game. And it didn’t come off the bat of the Royals.
Boom. The bomb the Royals just don’t know how to get. Game over.
NOTABLES: Over the past 7 games, the Royals have been out-hit 73-66. During that span, they are even with their opponents in doubles (11), but have been out-homered 10-2. Those two home runs came a week ago when Alex Gordon hit two in one game.
The Royals are last in the league in home runs with 20. The Toronto Blue Jays lead the Junior Circuit with 69. The next-closest team to the Royals is the Texas Rangers who have 33.
The Royals are hitting .255 as a team, which is eighth in the league. They have scored 3.9 runs per game. The Detroit Tigers are scoring 4.8 runs per game. Oakland Athletics pace the league with just over 5 runs per game.
Oakland has a team earned run average of 2.89. No wonder they are running away: pitching and hitting. The Royals are next with a 3.57 ERA. No wonder they are hovering at .500: pitching and no hitting.
The Royals (24-25) failed to climb above .500 for the first time since they were 22-21 last Sunday.
Psst: Don’t look now, but Mike Moustakas hit a home run for the Storm Chasers to lead off the second inning of tonight’s game vs. Round Rock. Jen Nevius will have more with the minor league report, no doubt including the results of the 2-3-4-5 hitters for Omaha (Omar Infante–Johnny Giavotella-Moustakas-Justin Maxwell). It’s looking a lot like Kansas City in Omaha.