Kansas City bullpen can’t hold lead, Royals lose 13-9 to Giants

03/23/2014 6:35 PM

03/23/2014 7:11 PM

Louis Coleman and Aaron Crow teamed up for a two-man, bullpen meltdown that cost the Royals in an 13-9 loss Sunday to the San Francisco Giants — and was only made worse by the subsequent relief corps.

When Coleman entered the game in the sixth inning, the Royals led by six runs. When Crow departed at the end of the frame, they trailed by two. The lion’s share of the blame belongs with Coleman, who gave up a two-run homer, an RBI single and left the bases loaded with one out for Crow.

“That was the best stuff Louis’ had all spring,” manager Ned Yost said. “He just couldn’t command any of it.”

But Crow couldn’t close the door. He immediately yielded a two-run single to Giants catcher Hector Sanchez. Outfielder Gregor Blanco followed with a two-run triple and scored on a throwing error to salt the wound. Wade Davis gave up another two runs in the seventh, and Greg Holland yielded a two-run shot in the eighth.

The Royals chased Giants starter Tim Lincecum with a five-run, fifth-inning bombardment punctuated by a pair of homers. Utility man Jason Donald lofted a three-run shot that just cleared the fence in right. Then Carlos Peguero, in the final days of an uphill roster battle he’ll likely lose to Justin Maxwell, clubbed a solo shot.

Yordano Ventura lacked the sizzle of his previous outings. But he still completed five innings. He gave up five hits, walked three batters and hit another. But the Giants only plated one run against him. He struck out three.

“I’m excited for the season,” Ventura said. “My first time with the team. We’ll keep it up.”

The teams traded runs in the second. Carlos Peguero roped a two-out double off Linecum. He scored on a triple by Lorenzo Cain.

The lead lasted three batters. Pence helped create a run by singling and stealing second base. Blanco tied the game with a single to right.

Arms race

The bullpen is now all but set. Six players look like locks: Greg Holland, Wade Davis, Aaron Crow, Tim Collins, Kelvin Herrera and Louis Coleman. The seventh is down to lefty Francisley Bueno and righty Jon Rauch. Bueno is believed to be the favorite, although the Royals remain in the market for upgrades on the waiver wire.

Medical updates

Second baseman Omar Infante (bone spur in elbow) intended to batting practice on the field on Sunday. It is a critical step forward in his route back to games. Infante was initially slated to only soft toss, with B.P. waiting on Monday. But he wanted to accelerate the schedule.

Etc.

The team made four roster moves: Danny Duffy and Donnie Joseph were optioned to Class AAA Omaha; Cory Wade and P.J. Walters were re-assigned to minor-league camp.

To Yost, the dilemma in 2014 with Donnie Joseph was the same as the dilemma with him in 2013. He did not throw enough strikes. He walked six batters in 52/3 innings.

“Command of his fastball — he’ll continue to work on that,” Yost said. “He’s got a slider that nobody sees. Nasty slider. But if they know he can’t command the slider, then they’re just going to spit on that.”

Up next

The Royals come back to Scottsdale to face the Rockies at Salt River Fields. Jeremy Guthrie gets his last substantial start in the Cactus League. The game begins at 3:05 p.m. Central, and can be heard on 610 Sports.

Quote

“Wasn’t a good day for the bullpen today.” — Ned Yost, on the obvious.

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