No sweep for Kansas City Royals in Sunday’s finale
By Colby Wilson
Just when a sweep—and a little bit of breathing room between themselves and .500—seemed within the Kansas City Royals grasp, it was snatched away by Jose Bautista.
After a dozen outs in Sunday’s finale between the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays, the home team led 2-0 at Kauffman Stadium. A sweep seemed like a strong possibility.
And then the wheels fell off, the Blue Jays piled up eight unanswered runs and plate umpire John Tumpane had his command of the strike zone loudly questioned by multiple hurlers in an 8-2 Royals loss from the K.
The hometown heroes got the start they needed, getting a one-out home run from Jorge Bonifacio in the top of the first to open the scoring. Bonifacio tagged starter Francisco Liriano with a leadoff double in the fourth—after picking up just two base hits since June 17, Bonifacio had two before the halfway point in Sunday’s contest.
Things further progressed in the fourth inning on an Eric Hosmer sacrifice fly to take a 2-0 lead.
Starter Jason Hammel held together pretty well through the first four innings but gave up the equalizer in the fifth on a two-run home run by Bautista. He struck out six and walked three, with the latter number becoming a point of contention later in the contest.
The aforementioned Mr. Tumpane is not someone I had spent much time thinking about prior to today; I’d never thought of him as anyone other than an announced umpire for whatever game I happened to be watching. He was unlikely to wind up in the news like Joe West, that’s for sure.
But he’ll certainly be on my radar moving forward as Sunday’s game was one that Kansas City Royals fans will recall for a while, and not because of how fantastic he was.
For what it’s worth, Flanagan’s next tweet also stipulated that GameDay had Tumpane down for seven misses for Blue Jays pitchers. So he was consistently bad.
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I bring this up because the sixth inning—which took a tie game and turned it into a five-run Jays lead—had Tumpane’s handprints all over it.
Scott Alexander, who replaced Hammel to start the frame, issued a lead-off single to Darwin Barney before walked Kevin Pillar on five pitches (one that should’ve been a strike according to GameDay). Then a four-pitch walk (one borderline at best) to pinch-hitter Steve Pearce to load the bases.
Then Peter Moylan replaced Alexander… and walked Bautista on five pitches to force in a run. You won’t believe this, but at least one of those strike calls was probably bogus.
You can see where this is heading. With Moylan frustrated by the strike zone—which was compounded when a Cheslor Cuthbert error on a Russell Martin grounder scored Pillar—and angry when Josh Donaldson laced a two-run double, Ned Yost came for the Aussie. Moylan had some choice words for Tumpane on his way off the hill and earned the rarely-seen ejection after removal from the game.
The rest of the contest passed swiftly. Kendrys Morales scored Martin on a fielder’s choice to Alcides Escobar, capping the five-run outburst in the sixth. Bautista ended the scoring an inning later with a single, his fourth RBI of the day.
And after Francisco Liriano bowed out after six innings of six-hit ball, a trio of Blue Jays relievers (Danny Barnes, Dominic Leone and Roberto Osuna) combined for three innings of three-hit ball to stave off a Kansas City Royals sweep.
The Boys in Blue get a Monday off before a three-game series at Detroit.