KANSAS CITY — You don’t wind up 22-45 without some bizarre losses.
The Royals’ 5-1 defeat in 10 innings on Tuesday night at the hands of the Reds certainly qualifies. The record will show that Joey Votto did the damage with a three-run triple that keyed a four-run rally in the 10th.
But the inning started out with a single, an error and a botched sacrifice bunt by Billy Hamilton that got a runner thrown out at third. Moments later after a single by Scott Schebler, Hamilton stood on third.
Then, Tucker Barnhart, who tied the score at 1 with a home run in the ninth, sent a shot back at reliever Kevin McCarthy, whose glove came off trying to stop the ball. If McCarthy had fielded it cleanly, it’s possible that he could have started an inning-ending double play, though the infield was playing in, making it much more difficult.
McCarthy retrieved the ball, and his glove, and got Hamilton in a rundown instead.
“Just a hard comebacker,” McCarthy said. “I looked to second. Maybe someone was there to turn two quick. But [shortstop Alcides Escobar] was pointing back home, so [I] just flipped it to home.”
But Hamilton eventually avoided a tag by Escobar, who was covering third, to load the bases. The Royals argued, to no avail, that Hamilton ran out of the baseline to avoid the tag — baseline rulings are not unreviewable.
“In their judgment, he didn’t leave the baseline,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “I said [to third-base umpire Jeff Nelson], in my judgement, he did. He checked with [home-plate umpire Laz Diaz], and Laz was of the same opinion [as Nelson]. You don’t really have much of an argument there. It’s not reviewable. I haven’t looked at the replay.
“I think there’s a lot of things that should be reviewable. There’s a lot of things that could go on that reviewable list, yes.”
Votto followed with a gap shot to right-center to clear the bases.
Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy entered the game with a 5.76 ERA. Reds right-hander Sal Romano came in with a 6.23 ERA.
Naturally, a pitching duel unfurled.
Kennedy tossed eight shutout innings and would have recorded his second win of the season but Barnhart crushed a home run in the ninth off closer Kelvin Herrera, tying the score at 1.
Barnhart drove a 2-2 changeup from Herrera into the right-field bullpen. Later, Herrera, who had not walked a hitter this season in 24 2/3 innings coming in, walked two. But he escaped further damage.
Kennedy gave up just three singles, walked three and struck out five. It was his longest outing since April 16, 2017, when he also threw eight shutout innings against the Angels.
“I feel like we’re moving in the right direction,” Kennedy said. “Good game plan and just executing better.”
First baseman Hunter Dozier gave the Royals the lead in the fifth inning with his second home run of the season to left field, a blast projected to travel 425 feet, according to Statcast™. Dozier jumped on a 3-2 fastball from Romano.