Royals

Jeremy Guthrie implodes as Yankees pummel Royals 14-1

Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie gave up a two-run home run to the Yankees’ Chase Headley in the first inning Monday in New York. It was the first homer in what would be a very bad day.
Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie gave up a two-run home run to the Yankees’ Chase Headley in the first inning Monday in New York. It was the first homer in what would be a very bad day. AP

The haunted past of the Kansas City Royals faded into the franchise’s background after the triumphs of last autumn, but in baseball, ghosts do not disappear. They reside in the record book as a catalog of the woe that preceded the organization’s glimmering present.

As he stumbled through the worst start of his big-league career, for one deflating afternoon, Jeremy Guthrie evoked a bleaker era in a 14-1 loss Monday to the New York Yankees.

“Just didn’t have it,” manager Ned Yost said. “One of those days.”

The Royals entered the game with the best record in baseball, but the performance of Guthrie recalled darker times. He gave up 11 runs, the most allowed by a Royals pitcher since Vin Mazzaro’s 14-run relief outing on May 16, 2011. He served up three home runs in one inning, the first Royal to do that since Kelvin Herrera allowed three against the Braves on April 6, 2013. He yielded eight runs in the first inning, the first time a Royal did that since Mark Redman on Sept. 23, 2006.

Guthrie gave up four home runs in all, all of them clearing the short porch of Yankee Stadium. The last was a three-run shot by second baseman Stephen Drew, who entered the game with a .176 batting average. The baseball crashed into the second deck. At last, Yost had seen enough.

Guthrie, 4-3 with a 6.70 ERA, departed with no outs in the second inning. In one afternoon, he erased all the goodwill created by his previous three outings. Guthrie does not miss bats, and he relies on soft contact. On Monday, the Yankees did not cooperate.

“Most of the damage they did was a credit to them,” Guthrie said.

He added that he was unsure whether the Yankees hit “good” pitches, but “they were executed for the most part. They did a very nice job of stringing together all kinds of hits, and then did damage when guys were on.”

There is no opportune time for a team to absorb a one-inning outing from a starting pitcher, but Guthrie’s timing was particularly unfortunate. Monday morning, the Royals, 28-16, put Danny Duffy on the disabled list because of shoulder stiffness. Jason Vargas will start Tuesday night in Duffy’s place but can only throw about 75 pitches as he returns from the disabled list. Yost intended to use Joe Blanton as a backup for Vargas.

So Blanton was unavailable for the eight innings of mop-up duty. Brandon Finnegan flew in from Class AAA Omaha in the morning and replaced Guthrie in the second inning. Finnegan completed three innings and rescued his teammates from excessive use. Franklin Morales contributed two innings.

In the seventh, closer Greg Holland pitched for the first time in 11 days. With his fastball hovering at 92 mph, he issued a pair of walks and a two-run home run. He could not finish the inning.

“He was just a little rusty,” Yost said.

The sun was already baking the diamond as Royals catcher Drew Butera entered the dugout a little before 11 a.m.

“Joe got a lineup yet?” Butera asked a clubhouse attendant. The attendant informed him that Yankees manager Joe Girardi told his players to report at 11:30 a.m., about 90 minutes before the first pitch.

The Yankees had played a night game on Sunday, and as they had so often in the last two weeks, they lost. The club limped into Monday with 10 defeats in 11 games. Their descent from first place in the American League East was swift. Their bats stayed quiet during a weekend sweep by the Texas Rangers.

Yet Guthrie served as 205-pound bundle of dynamite. The fireworks display started on his second pitch. Outfielder Brett Gardner roped a leadoff double. With his next pitch, Guthrie fed third baseman Chase Headley a 93-mph fastball at the thighs. Headley ripped a two-run homer.

“Anything over the plate, they were hitting,” first baseman Eric Hosmer said of the Yankees. “They came ready to play.”

Alex Rodriguez punched a single up the middle, then Guthrie walked Mark Teixeira. Guthrie tried to throw a fastball inside to Yankees catcher Brian McCann. The pitch probably caught too much of the plate, and definitely caught too much of McCann’s lumber. The result was a three-run homer.

“They were just on everything he threw,” Yost said.

Guthrie was down five runs and had yet to record an out. He picked up two, then failed himself. When Guthrie hit Didi Gregorius with a pitch, he granted first base to a hitter with a .276 on-base percentage.

The Yankees made Guthrie pay when Slade Heathcott followed with a single. Then came Gardner, the man who had started the barrage. This time, he hooked a curveball down the right-field line for a three-run homer. Guthrie shook his head as he returned to the dugout.

The second inning was much like the first, only shorter. Guthrie faced three batters. All reached base. McCann walked. Garrett Jones smacked a single. Drew deposited his homer in the upper deck.

The Royals spent the rest of the afternoon in a steady retreat. Yost removed most of his starters. Center fielder Lorenzo Cain departed first, then second baseman Omar Infante. To lift left fielder Alex Gordon from the game, Paulo Orlando shifted from right field to left. Hosmer took over in right. Salvador Perez spent the last three innings of what was supposed to be a day off playing first base.

Guthrie could not participate in any of this. His day had ended hours before, when Yost pulled him with no outs in the second. Afterward, Guthrie strove to maintain an optimistic outlook.

“Clearly, this is an outing that’s very rare, thankfully, for pitchers,” Guthrie said. “You go back and try to prepare the same way. And hopefully get better results.”

Yankees 14, Royals 1

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Escobar ss

5

1

1

0

0

1

.278

Moustakas 3b

3

0

0

0

0

2

.327

Cain cf

2

0

1

0

0

1

.306

Dyson cf

2

0

2

1

0

0

.206

Hosmer 1b-rf

3

0

1

0

1

0

.312

Morales dh

3

0

1

0

1

0

.302

Gordon lf

3

0

1

0

0

0

.271

Perez 1b

1

0

0

0

0

0

.303

Infante 2b

3

0

1

0

0

0

.250

1-Colon pr-2b

0

0

0

0

1

0

.283

Orlando rf-lf

4

0

0

0

0

1

.248

Butera c

4

0

0

0

0

1

.182

Totals

33

1

8

1

3

6

New York

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Gardner lf

4

3

2

3

1

2

.285

Murphy c

0

0

0

0

0

0

.219

Headley 3b

4

1

3

3

1

0

.255

2-Pirela pr-2b

0

0

0

0

0

0

.200

Rdriguez dh

4

1

2

0

1

0

.262

Teixeira 1b

3

1

0

0

1

1

.236

Young rf-lf

1

0

0

0

0

0

.238

McCann c-1b

3

2

1

3

2

1

.235

Jones rf-1b-rf

5

1

2

0

0

1

.235

Drew 2b-3b

5

1

1

3

0

0

.176

Gregorius ss

3

2

1

0

1

1

.222

Heathcott cf

5

2

2

2

0

1

.417

Totals

37

14

14

14

7

7

Kansas City

000

010

000

1

8

1

New York

830

010

20x

14

14

0

1-ran for Infante in the 6th. 2-ran for Headley in the 7th.

E: Orlando (2). LOB: Kansas City 9, New York 7. 2B: Escobar (8), Gardner (8), Headley (6). HR: Headley (6), off Guthrie; McCann (5), off Guthrie; Gardner (4), off Guthrie; Drew (5), off Guthrie; Heathcott (1), off Holland. RBIs: Dyson (2), Gardner 3 (19), Headley 3 (21), McCann 3 (28), Drew 3 (15), Heathcott 2 (3). CS: Dyson (1).

Runners left in scoring position: Kansas City 3 (Morales, Orlando 2); New York 3 (Teixeira 2, McCann). RISP: Kansas City 1 for 6; New York 5 for 10. GIDP: Hosmer, Drew. DP: Kansas City 1 (Colon, Escobar, Perez); New York 1 (Pirela, Gregorius, Jones).

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

W

K

NP

ERA

Guthrie L, 4-3

1

9

11

11

3

1

60

6.70

Finngn

3

0

0

0

1

2

45

1.86

Mrales

2

1

1

1

1

2

36

3.72

Holland

0.1

1

2

2

2

1

18

2.61

Frasor

1.2

3

0

0

0

1

33

0.60

New York

IP

H

R

ER

W

K

NP

ERA

Eovaldi W, 4-1

7

8

1

1

1

4

103

4.27

Lindgrn

2

0

0

0

2

2

26

0.00

Eovaldi pitched to 1 batter in the 8th. Guthrie pitched to 3 batters in the 2nd.

Inherited runners-scored: Frasor 1-0, Lindgren 1-0. HBP: by Guthrie (Gregorius), by Eovaldi (Moustakas). WP: Guthrie, Morales, Eovaldi.

Umpires: Home, Mark Wegner; First, Marty Foster; Second, Mike Muchlinski; Third, Mike Winters. Time: 3:12. Att: 36,031.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.

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