I guess you can’t get great starting pitching every night. Everyone has a clunker once in awhile. Tonight it was Will Smith‘s turn. The KC Royals lost the opening game to their three-game series in Tampa, 5-1.
Alex Gordon had two outfield assists or it could have been worse for Smith. In the 2nd inning when Elliot Johnson drove in a run with a two out single, Gordon threw Jose Lobaton out at third base just after Sean Rodriguez scored.
The Royals came right back to tie the game at 1-1 on Gordon‘s two out RBI single. But Smith gave it right back.
Desmond Jennings tripled off the right field wall (on a ball I thought could have been caught by Lorenzo Cain). He scored on a wild pitch.
The 4th inning was Smith‘s undoing. With one out and a runner on second base, Lobaton singled in a run. Johnson then singled and after a coaching visit, Jennings doubled in a run. It would have been more if Gordon‘s throw (via the relay by Alcides Escobar) didn’t get Johnson at the plate. It was also a great block of the plate by catcher Salvador Perez. That ended Smith‘s night.
Lefty Everett Teaford entered and escaped the jam. He did however give up a run in his 2.1 innings of work. That came via a Jeff Keppinger homerun.
Jeremy Jeffress was dominant in his one inning of work. He struck out two of the three batters he faced on 17 pitches.
The offense was stale after coming alive this past weekend at home. They collected seven hits, but went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The double plays bit again, as they hit into two of them that killed rallies.
*There were just 9,913 fans in attendance at Tropicana Field. There were minor league teams with more fans in attendance. It really is a shame that the Rays cannot draw in Florida. They have a great team that is playoff bound at the moment yet again.
**Escobar admitted that he felt that the ground ball that he made a poor throw on in Sunday’s win against Chicago should have been ruled an error. He, like everyone else except the official scorer, knew that if he made a good throw, he would have thrown the slow Paul Konerko out by a mile.
**For more on the Rays, check out Cowbell Clankers.