One night after losing the epic battle between the veteran and the Rookie of the Year candidate in extra innings, the KC Royals lost their first series since the All-Star break to the Miami Marlins, who are in last place in the National League East (and one of the worst teams in baseball).
The Royals have now lost two in a row and head to Detroit for five games beginning on Thursday night (which will air live on MLB Network). The Tigers won this afternoon against the Chicago White Sox to increase their lead in the American League Central to 7.5 games over the Royals. The Cleveland Indians also won to increase their second place lead over the Royals to 1.5 games.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Royals bullpen once again took the loss, this time by a 5-2.
The Royals took the early lead on a Salvador Perez RBI single with two outs in the first.
The score would stay 2-1 until the 7th inning when Tim Collins took over for Ervin Santana, who allowed base runners but did not cave in to the Marlins. Collins allowed a leadoff double and three straight ground outs later, the Marlins had the 3-2 lead. Problem is, the first ground ball was booted by Elliot Johnson at third base, which kept the inning alive.
The Marlins put the game away in the top of the ninth against Luke Hochevar with two runs on three hits.
The Royals offense did not do anything against the Marlins bullpen, but did look like they might crack through against Marlins closer Steve Cishek in the bottom of the ninth. Eric Hosmer doubled for the second time and Billy Butler followed by working a walk with two outs. However, Alex Gordon struck out to end the game.
The Royals had just five total hits, two by Hosmer. They did work EIGHT walks, three by Chris Getz, and stole three bases. But they went just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Back to Santana. He allowed one run on eight hits and two walks over six innings. He struck out three, while throwing 68 of his 99 pitches for strikes.
*Prior to the game, the Royals virtually cut ties with veteran Miguel Tejada. They placed him on the 60-day DL, meaning he will not be eligible to play until October 10th (if the Royals were to make the postseason). They then made a deal for utility fielder Emilio Bonifacio, the older brother of outfield prospect Jorge. Emilio is speedy and can play a few positions, but has had a hard time being consistent.
**Third baseman Mike Moustakas showed up in the clubhouse today with a boot. Right now, he isn’t expected to head to the DL, but should miss a few more days. Not good news heading into a make-or-break series.