KANSAS CITY — Thanks perhaps to the Homer Bailey trade completed just minutes before the start of the series finale, the Royals wound up emptying their bullpen. Left-hander Brian Flynn got the emergency start and he was tagged for eight hits and seven runs in two-plus innings.
From there, the Royals battled back, but eventually fell, 12-8, to the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. They closed a 10-4 deficit to 10-8 before finally succumbing. Kansas City had won the first two games of the series.
Neither Flynn nor manager Ned Yost made any excuses for Flynn’s poor start — even if Flynn didn’t get much notice before the outing.
“Why would it be that hard for him?’ Yost said. “He’s in the bullpen. When I call down, I don’t give him an hour’s notice.”
In all, the Royals used six pitchers.
“I don’t think, generally as a team, we pitched well,” Yost said. “There are days the pitching has to cover the offense and there are days the offense has to cover the pitching. It was just one of those days we didn’t get it done.”
Flynn, too, said the emergency start shouldn’t have been that big of a challenge.
“I wish I could make excuses,” Flynn said. “But we had enough time in here to get ready. I actually had to slow down a little. I wanted to make sure I didn’t overdo it.”
Flynn carried a three-run lead into the third. But the first six Tigers got on base before Flynn yielded to right-hander Jorge Lopez. After the smoke cleared, Detroit had a 7-3 lead.
“I kind of just let things snowball,” Flynn said. “We had the matchup with the lefty we wanted to start the inning, and you have to keep him off the base. From there, I lost another lefty and that really hurt. It just snowballed and I couldn’t stop the bleeding.”
The red-hot Jorge Soler led the Royals’ offensive barrage with a double, home run (his 25th) and three RBIs. Soler, over his last 11 games, is hitting .384 with three doubles, four home runs and 11 RBIs.
“When they scored seven and took the lead [9-3], we possibly thought the game was over,” Soler said through interpreter Pedro Grifol, “but it was impressive the way we came back and scored some runs.”
Whit Merrifield tripled in a run, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.