Royals keep sliding in 6-3 loss to AngelsBy BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Somebody say uncle.
The Royals suffered a 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night when Kendry Morales delivered a three-run pinch single in the eighth inning of a tie game against reliever Greg Holland.
A three-run pinch single against the Royals hottest pitcher capping a rally that began after Holland got two quick outs.
Thats how things are going these days for the Royals, who have now lost 16 of their last 21 games while falling hopelessly for yet another year out of postseason contention.
Sometimes, catcher Brayan Peña said, it makes you wonder.
The trouble started when ex-Royal Alberto Callaspo pulled a two-out single through the right side against Holland, who had a 1.63 ERA over his previous 30 appearances.
Up 1-2 with two outs, Holland said, I just threw a fastball and left it in the middle of the plate. Thats how the inning started.
Macier Izturis followed with a high hopper over a leaping Eric Hosmer at first into the right-field corner. Jeff Francoeur kept Callaspo at third with a strong throw to the plate.
It was a temporary reprieve.
A four-pitch walk to Peter Bourjos loaded the bases, which prompted Angels manager Mike Scioscia to send up Morales as a pinch-hitter for Bobby Wilson.
The walk to Bourjos killed him, manager Ned Yost said. We knew they would probably pinch-hit Morales for the catcher in that situation. We needed to go right after Bourjos, and we ended up walking him on four pitches. That was the game.
Holland missed so badly that it appeared he might be pitching around Bourjos.
We sent Brayan out there after the first two pitches, Yost said, and said, `Look, really focus on trying to get the ball down.
Yost didnt want the game to get to Morales, but Holland didnt want to groove a pitch to Bourjos.
After I fell behind with first base open, Holland said, I was still comfortable in facing Morales. (Bourjos) was hitting .226 coming into the game, but I felt comfortable (that I could get) Morales out.
I fell behind him, got the count back to 1-1 and left a pitch in the middle of the plate.
Morales yanked the ball over Francoeurs head and all three runners scored while Morales held at first. A three-run pinch single.
The Angels winning rally came after Billy Butler opened the Royals eighth inning with a slicing double into the right-field corner against Kevin Jepsen. It helped that Torii Hunter slipped on the warning track while chasing down the ball.
Mike Moustakas failed to advance Butler by popping to short on a first-pitch fastball. That meant Yuniesky Betancourts fly to deep left was just an out instead of a sacrifice fly. Jepsen ended the inning by striking out Francoeur.
Its a job Ive got to get done, Moustakas said. There are no excuses. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Its a job Ive got to get done especially in that situation. The next guy comes up and hits a deep fly ball to left field. Were up one. So thats inexcusable.
Jepsen, 1-1, got the victory when Scott Downs worked a scoreless ninth for his ninth save. Holland, 4-3, was the loser.
The Royals opened the scoring in the third inning after Hosmer led off with a single and stole second. Peñas single up the middle moved Hosmer to third, and Alex Gordon followed with an RBI single off Izturis glove at short.
Escobars fly to deep right moved Peña to third before Lorenzo Cain sent a fly to deep straightaway center that Bourjos pulled back with a leap at the wall. Instead of a three-run homer, Cain settled for a sacrifice fly and the Royals led 2-0 instead of 4-0.
Bourjos play positioned the Angels to draw even in their half of the inning.
Mike Trout opened the LA third with a single to right on an 0-2 pitch, and Torii Hunter followed with a double into the left-field corner. Trout scored on Albert Pujols grounder to first, but Chen had a chance to hold the lead when Mark Trumbo popped to first.
Instead, Kendrick tied the game with an RBI double into the right-center gap.
The Angels took the lead in the sixth in maddening familiar fashion.
Chen started with a leadoff walk to Kendrick, who had 18 walks in 351 previous plate appearances. Kendrick moved to second on Callaspos grounder to the right side before stealing third when he got a huge jump against an inattentive Chen.
I know theres one out, Chen said, and hes trying to get to third base so that, on a fly ball, he can score. It was my fault. I didnt pay attention as much as I should, and I didnt give Brayan a chance to throw him out. At that point, I cannot let that happen.
(Note to self: Check with the folks at Elias to see whether they track how often a team allows a stolen base because its pitcher simply ignores the runner. If so, ask how far the second-worst team trails the Royals.)
This occasion meant the Royals had to shorten their infield because the go-ahead run was now on third with less than two outs. Izturis took advantage by blooping a single into right over that shortened infield for an RBI single and a 3-2 lead.
Kelvin Herrera replaced Chen and, after Izturis stole second and third the latter without a throw because, again, of apparent disregard ended the inning with two strikeouts.
This time, the Royals answered.
Hosmer served a one-out single to left in the seventh and moved to second on a wild pitch. Peña tied the game with an RBI single up the middle. It stayed 3-3 until the Angels three-run burst in the eighth.