Royals 7, Rangers 6
- That was a frustrating game to lose.
- Nick Martinez pitched yesterday like we'd hoped that he'd pitch this season, rather than at the off-the-charts great level he's pitched at for the early part of 2015. 4 Ks in 6.1 IP, 4 runs (3 earned), 6 hits, 1 walk, 1 HBP. He was victimized by an Elvis Andrus throwing error that cost him a run in the 6th, an inning that started with three very hard hit balls that resulted in a double-single-double sequence, and tied the game up for the Royals. The error led to an unearned run and gave the Royals the lead.
- Alex Claudio was brought into the game with one out in the 7th, was asked to face one lefthanded hitter, Mike Moustakas, and gave up a home run. That's the third time Claudio has given up a homer to the first batter he's faced (though the first time it wasn't a three-run homer in relief of Yovani Gallardo). Kyuji Fujikawa is supposed to be activated from the disabled list on Friday, and it sounds like Tanner Scheppers will be up pretty soon, as well. Despite being the lone lefty in the bullpen, Claudio could find himself squeezed out when those moves are made, as I have my doubts Jeff Banister has a ton of trust in him right now.
- So soon after throwing 97-98 mph and looking like the Neftali Feliz of old, Feliz was the bad Feliz yesterday. He allowed 1 run on 2 hits and an intentional walk in the top of the 9th, giving the Royals a one run lead. Feliz is frustrating right now.
- Stolmy Pimentel got dinged with the loss, giving up a tape-measure shot to Alex Gordon leading off the 10th, a homer that ended up being the final margin of victory in the 7-6 game. Shrug. Its Stolmy Pimentel.
- The Rangers scored six runs yesterday, although it should have been more, given that they had 14 hits (although 12 of them were singles), three walks and a runner reach on an Alcides Escobar error. The problem was the Royals kept wiping Ranger runners out on the basepaths. Shin-Soo Choo was thrown out at third on a hit-and-run play after he stumbled at second base, Delino DeShields was thrown out trying to steal, Adrian Beltre was picked off of first base, and the Rangers hit into a pair of double plays. Five runners retired on the basepaths isn't good.
- Choo went 3 for 5 with a home run, continuing his red-hot May, and Elvis Andrus went 2 for 3 with a walk and a 9th inning sac bunt that put pinch runner Jake Smolinski in position to score the tying run on Adrian Beltre's 9th inning single. Beltre and Thomas Field also each went 2 for 5, and DeShields was 1 for 2 with a pair of walks and a pair of stolen bases.
- And then there was Kyle Blanks, who went 3 for 4 with a double, and who was part of a questionable strategic decision by Jeff Banister that backfired. In the bottom of the 7th inning, Blanks singled (on a weird, "excuse-me" pseudo-swing where the ball caromed off of Blanks bat and blooped down the right field line for a bizarre single). That brought Elvis Andrus home and, with two outs, put Adrian Beltre at third and Blanks at first. Banister chose to have the injured Leonys Martin run for Blanks -- despite the fact that Leonys didn't represent the go-ahead run, and the fact it was the 7th inning, meaning there was a good chance that Blanks' spot would come up again. Sure enough, Leonys was stranded at first when Carlos Peguero lined out to shortstop, and what had been Blanks' spot ended up leading off the bottom of the 10th after Beltre got picked off first base. Leonys's bad wrist meant he couldn't bat, so instead, we had Carlos Corporan hitting in the 10th. Banister clearly wants to be aggressive with use his of pinch runners late in games, but it seems like he's been too aggressive, particularly in pulling guys like Blanks and Prince Fielder before the 9th inning, and setting up situations where the lineup is missing key bats later in the game.