Royals End Streak, Lose 11-3
It was a great run that boosted the Kansas City Royals from third place, and eight games back from the AL Central lead, to first place, and half a game up on the Detroit Tigers. Surely everybody knew that we wouldn't win out. It's a nice thought, but we were due for a loss, and this one came in embarrassing fashion.
It was a night where not much could go right for the Royals. Jeremy Guthrie was greeted by back-to-back singles, and a double by Brandon Moss to put Oakland on the board in the first. Lorenzo Cain's assist limited the damage to a one-run first inning. The A's would tack on two unearned runs in the third inning on Alcides Escobar's eleventh error of the season.
Three runs in the fourth and fifth innings would knock Guthrie from the game. It's an interesting line from Guthrie tonight, no doubt: 4.2 innings, four earned runs, and four strikeouts. The only 'big hit' he allowed was Brandon Moss' RBI double back in the first inning. The Athletics managed eleven hits off of Guthrie, but only one for extra bases. The last out in the fifth inning belonged to Aaron Crow, and he got Josh Reddick to fly out on one pitch.
Kansas City bats finally woke up in the fifth inning. Lorenzo Cain doubled Mike Moustakas to third base, and Alcides Escobar doubled Moose in. Nori Aoki then hit an infield single to score Lorenzo Cain. Aoki advanced on an errant throw by Eric Sogard. Salvador Perez then added to the score with an RBI double to cut the Oakland lead to three runs. That would be all that the Royals offense could muster up against Lester and the A's.
The rest of the night belonged to Bruce Chen. It appeared to everyone that Chen would be one and done. Chen Worked a 1-2-3 inning, and it spiraled from there. The next three innings would be similar to A's batting practice earlier in the day. Oakland slaughtered Chen for five earned runs in his four innings pitched, and it was not pretty. It was a case of, "Our bullpen is tired, so we're going to leave Chen hanging out there like a wet towel." Chen's final line was similar to one of Jonathan Sanchez's good starts back in 2012.
The upside to this is that the Royals are still in first. The Tigers lost 4-2 to Pittsburgh tonight, and are fading fast. Detroit has lost four in a row, and have lost Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander.
The Royals will send Jason Vargas to the mound for his third start since the appendectomy in Tampa Bay. The A's will counter with Scott Kazmir. Kazmir gave up four earned runs to the Royals when we faced him last in Oakland. To steal a line from James Shields, "Amnesia is your best friend." Kansas City just needs to move on from this game, and get back on track.