There are certain things that are considered automatic in life. Death. Taxes. The Kansas City Royals bullpen. No one can avoid the inevitable. Except, after tonight, the Royals bullpen may be removed from that list, given their epic implosion during a ten run eighth inning, as the Baltimore Orioles took a 14-8 victory.
The game started off well for the Royals. Lorenzo Cain homered in the first, and a sacrifice fly and an RBI double from Alcides Escobar in the second gave the Royals an early 3-0 lead. Danny Duffy was holding the Orioles at bay, despite being squeezed by a strike zone the size of a bottle cap. Things were looking up for the Royals.
Even when the Orioles got two runs back in the third and fourth innings, Duffy still seemed in control. Dariel Alvarez hit his first career home run to lead off the third, and an RBI fielder’s choice in the fourth cut the lead to one. However, Duffy was pitching fairly well, and all he needed to do was get through the first few innings with the lead.
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That recipe occurred almost exactly to plan. After Cain homered again to lead off the top of the sixth, the Kansas City Royals went to their vaunted bullpen to preserve the lead. However, the Orioles got that run back in the bottom of the inning. Luke Hochevar allowed all three batters he faced to reach, loading the bases for Ryan Madson. While Madson allowed a run on a fielder’s choice, he did an excellent job to escape without further damage, keeping the Royals on top.
The Royals and Orioles swapped runs again in the seventh. Alex Rios homered, much to everyone’s amazement, but the Orioles countered with an RBI single from Chris Davis. After Salvador Perez drove in a run with a base hit in the top of the eighth, and with Kelvin Herrera on the mound, it seemed as though victory would be at hand.
Well, best laid plans and all. The Orioles obviously did not get that memo about an impending Royals victory, as they ambushed Herrera. He loaded the bases with one out, and Nolan Reimold belted a grand slam to left. In came Franklin Morales, who promptly gave up a home run to Manny Machado. After a base hit, a hit batter and an RBI double, Morales was done, as Joba Chamberlain was summoned from the bullpen. He walked the first batter he faced, then gave up a grand slam to Steve Clevenger. By the time the dust settled, the Orioles had scored ten runs in the frame, and if not for two outs by J.J. Hardy in the inning, may still be batting now.
While the Kansas City Royals got two runs back in the top of the ninth, it was not even close to sufficient as they took the 14-8 loss. The defeat, and subsequent dumpster fire of an eighth inning, overshadowed a solid start from Duffy, who gave up two runs on three hits and three walks, striking out eight in his five innings of work.
Lorenzo Cain was 3-4 with two home runs, three RBI, a walk and four runs scored in the loss.