ST. PETERSBURG — Royals right-hander Homer Bailey had a short night at Tropicana Field.
Bailey, who was coming off two superb outings in which he gave up just one run in 13 innings, walked the first two batters he faced. And it didn’t get much better as Bailey left with the bases loaded and none out in the second inning of a 5-2 loss to the Rays on Tuesday night, the Royals’ fifth straight loss.
Bailey gave up three hits, four walks and four runs in one-plus innings. He had come off two straight victories, shutting out the Indians through seven innings in one start, and holding the Yankees to one run through six innings in the other.
Bailey said there was nothing wrong physically that would account for his velocity, which had been 94-95 mph in his two previous starts, dipping to 90 or so.
“It has nothing to do with anything physical,” Bailey said. “I just didn’t make my pitches.
“I just struggled with command and sometimes when you don’t have the command, you back off on pitches and don’t have the velo. Just one of those days.”
Walking the first two hitters quickly gave Bailey cause for concern.
“That was a pretty good indicator,” Bailey said. “Right from the beginning, I wasn’t very sharp. … You just want to be able to go back, look at video, make corrections, and get ready for your next start.”
Royals manager Ned Yost wasn’t going to have a long leash for Bailey with an off-day coming up.
“I’m like OK, it’s obvious that he’s not on tonight,” Yost said, “and I’m not going to try to get length out of him just to get through the inning. Hopefully if we can hold them right there and battle back offensively, we’ll see what happens. We just couldn’t do it offensively.”
The Royals’ bullpen did its job holding it close. Jake Newberry threw three scoreless innings. And left-hander Tim Hill, just recalled from Triple-A Omaha, gave up one home run in two innings, but he struck out three. Brad Boxberger and Richard Lovelady tossed scoreless innings.
“You come into a game like that with the bases loaded,” Newberry said, “and you just try to go as unscathed as you can.”
Yost’s much-maligned bullpen came through with seven innings of one-run ball.
“The bullpen did a fantastic job,” Yost said. “Newberry came in in a tough spot, bases loaded and nobody out. He ended up giving up two of Homer’s runs. From that point, Timmy gave up the home run with the cement mixer slider, but besides that the bullpen was fantastic.”