KANSAS CITY — The Royals dropped a 16-1 decision to the Rangers on Thursday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium, concluding a disappointing 2-4 homestand.
It all got away from the Royals in a messy — and rare — defensive trainwreck in the fifth inning when the Rangers scored five times to break a 1-1 tie. Texas never looked back.
Here’s the breakdown of the fateful fifth:
Royals starter Homer Bailey, on relative cruise control through four innings, walked the No. 9 hitter, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who entered the game hitting .188. Never ideal.
Danny Santana followed with a single to right, and right fielder Jorge Soler unwisely unleashed a throw to third (there was no chance to get Kiner-Falefa), which allowed Santana to take second.
Willie Calhoun then singled to left, scoring both runners. Gold Glove left fielder Alex Gordon threw home, where there was no cutoff man. That allowed Calhoun to take second.
“There was a couple of hits, and we missed being in the right spot, cutoff-wise,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We were just trying to hold the game right there.”
It looked like Bailey was going to get his first out when Nomar Mazara hit a popup between the pitcher’s mound and third base. But there was some confusion between Bailey and shortstop Adalberto Mondesi, and the ball fell between them for a single.
Mondesi said he saw the ball at first, then lost it in the sun.
“It went up and that was probably my fault more than anything,” Bailey said. “I heard him coming in, so I didn’t keep backing up. I anticipated him calling me off. It’s more my fault than anything. I saw it the whole way.”
After striking out Hunter Pence, Bailey walked Joey Gallo, loading the bases. Bailey’s shoulders sank after his 2-2 fastball appeared to be on the outside corner for strike three but was called a ball.
“I guess I missed,” Bailey said.
Bailey then walked Logan Forsythe, which forced in a run to make it 4-1. That was it for Bailey, and reliever Brad Boxberger entered the game.
Boxberger made a good pitch to Rougned Odor, who shot a double-play grounder to first baseman Ryan O’Hearn. But O’Hearn’s throw to second base sailed into left field, and two more runs scored.
“He just made a [bad] throw,” Yost said. “It just got away from him.”
Boxberger finally got out of the inning with a weak popup and a groundout, but the Rangers had done plenty of damage and cruised to the win.
Owings makes mound debut
With one out in the eighth, utility infielder Chris Owings got a chance to show his stuff with his first big league appearance on the mound. Using a 70-75-mph slider, Owings got out of the eighth with no further damage. But he gave up four runs in the ninth.
“I knew I was going to be an inning short with the bullpen,” Yost said. “I wasn’t going to let Ian [Kennedy] throw more than 20 pitches and have him messed up for [Friday]. I just asked him if he’s ever done it. He said he never has. I said, ‘Well, I don’t think you’ll be able to say that when this day is done.’”
Owings said he last stepped on the mound sometime in high school.
“[Yost] just basically said he trusted me out there,” Owings said. “He just said, ‘Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t throw too hard. Just kind of lob it in there. Just try to get some outs.’”