On Tuesday I posted a column about the Royals leading the league in walks and giving runs away; I said they needed to get that cleaned up before it bit them in the posterior.
On Wednesday it bit them in the posterior. The Royals lost 7-5 to the Minnesota Twins and gave three of those seven runs away.
Here’s what happened
Second inning: Eduardo Escobar hit a “tweener,” which is baseball talk for a pop fly hit between the infield and the outfield. Here’s the rule of thumb on tweeners: the infielder goes back with every intention of making the play until the outfielder calls him off. The outfielder is moving forward and has everything in front of him; the infielder is moving back and isn’t sure of the outfielder’s location.
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But if the outfielder is going to call for the ball, he needs to take charge as early as possible or the two players can collide; which is what we saw happen to Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas. In that case Gordon was calling for the ball, but because of crowd noise, Moustakas didn’t hear him and kept coming out for the ball.
On Escobar’s ball, Paulo Orlando said he called for it too late for Infante to get out of the way. Then Orlando compounded the problem by giving Infante a “fly by.” That’s when one player comes too close to another player and disrupts the second player’s concentration.
Infante sensed Orlando’s presence and quit moving back; Orlando pulled up and didn’t attempt the catch. Infante got tagged with the error even though Orlando was the one who caused the problem.
Once Escobar reached first base, pitcher Dillon Gee compounded the problem by making a wild pickoff attempt, which allowed Escobar to take two bases. Escobar scored on Danny Santana’s single; add that to the Twins two first-inning home runs and the score was 3-0.
Fourth inning: The Royals scored five runs in the top of the fourth and had a two-run lead. With a two-run lead pitchers want to be very aggressive about throwing strikes.
But with two outs, Gee walked 9-hole hitter Danny Santana on five pitches. Eduardo Nunez doubled, the walk scored and the Royals’ lead was cut to one run.
Seventh inning: The Royals were down 6-5. Ned Yost let a struggling Dillon Gee face Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano (and there’s probably another column in that); Mauer singled, Sano homered and the Twins took a one-run lead.
If the Royals were going to make a comeback, keeping the Twins lead at one run was a big deal.
But with two outs in the seventh Royals reliever Peter Moylan hit Miguel Sano with a pitch. Moylan then walked Robbie Grossman and moved Sano into scoring position and that’s just what he did when Byung Ho Park singled.
The Royals lost by two while giving away three
So to sum up: the Royals gave away a run when they made two errors in the second inning, they gave away another run when they walked the 9-hole hitter in the fourth and gave away a third run when they hit a batter and then walked another one in the seventh.
The Royals let a game against a last-place team get away and now let’s hope that doesn’t come back to bite them in the posterior at the end of the year.