KANSAS CITY — Three takeaways from the Royals’ 7-5 loss to the Red Sox on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium, the club’s sixth straight defeat and 12th in 14 games:
One of the usual hallmarks of any losing spell is a failure to cash in on scoring opportunities, and the Royals sure had plenty on Thursday.
The Royals loaded the bases in the fourth with one out with the top of the order coming up again. But Merrifield flew out to short right field and Mondesi struck out. Merrifield now is 2-for-12 this season with a runner on third and less than two out.
The Royals had runners on second and third and two out in the sixth but Mondesi struck out.
In the seventh, the Royals had Nicky Lopez on third with none out. But Cam Gallagher flied out to short right, Billy Hamilton popped out and Merrifield struck out.
“I said a couple of weeks ago that my situational hitting has been embarrassing this season,” Merrifield said. “For whatever reason, that’s been bad but I”ve been pretty good with runners in scoring position (.370).
“It’s part of the season. You go through ups and downs all season. Just have to grind away.”
Added Royals manager Ned Yost: “The bottom of the order did a great job. I think they got, like, eight of our hits down there. They really did a good job of setting the table. And like you said, when you get in those situations where the bottom of the order is setting the table for the top of the order, you’re generally going to be in a pretty good position to score some runs. We just couldn’t do it today.”
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy took a line drive off his right knee in the second inning, and writhed in pain for several minutes. But Duffy stayed in the game.
“It’s sore, but it didn’t affect me,” Duffy said. “If I go back out there, there’s no excuses. It’s not gonna feel great tomorrow, but it’s all right.”
Unfortunately, Duffy lost his command in the third inning.
Duffy hit the first batter he faced in the third, then gave up a two-run home run to Mookie Betts on a 0-2 changeup. The inning then went single, strikeout, double, two-run single. And that was it for Duffy.
“Brutal [command],” Duffy said. “I made a couple pitches down the zone that just missed. Like I said, if I go back out there, it’s because I can. If I can, there’s no excuses. I had 95 in the tank today and I felt great. So, it’s a bummer it went down the way it did.
“I’ve got to do a better job of not serving it to [Betts] on a platter. He’s got five bombs against me in 11 at-bats. I’m not doing so well against him in my career. He’s a great hitter. When you make stupid mistakes like that, he’s going to capitalize. It’s just very frustrating.”
Flynn to the rescue
Left-hander Brian Flynn did a tremendous job keeping the Royals close, throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
“He did a great job,” Yost said. “Brian Flynn saved the day for us for sure. A lot of times it takes him time to get his command going, but he did a really good job. He came in throwing strikes.”