For the first time since mid-March, the Kansas City Royals played a baseball game against a team other than themselves. The Houston Astros came to Kauffman Stadium to play an exhibition game against K.C. after a few weeks of intrasquad games. However, the Royals came up short in a 6-3 loss against the Astros. Kauffman Stadium felt vacant, with crowd noise piped in through the speakers,
Innings 1-3: Astros Strike First
It was fun to finally see some live baseball at the K. However, the Astros quickly struck first. Royals pitcher, Mike Montgomery started off slow with a 4-pitch walk to George Springer. The defending American League champions then scored a run in the first off of an Alex Bregman double.
Montgomery began to settle in after the first inning, retiring the side in order in the second. Although the Astros had baserunners, the Royals did not pick up their first hit until the bottom of the third. Astros SP Lance McCullers looked in mid-season form tonight. He retired the first 7 Royals batters he faced.
Innings 4-6: Familiar Face Homers
After retiring the first batter in the inning, Yuli Gurriel was then safe at first on a throwing error from 3B Maikel Franco. Despite their first game in months, the Astros bats were alive, hitting two home-runs in the top of the 4th. Josh Reddick had one, as did former-Royal C Martin Maldonado. Maldonado played for the Royals in 2019 until he was dealt to the Chicago Cubs in mid-July in 2019. The homers led to Mike Montgomery exiting the game, replaced by Kevin McCarthy.
Heading to the bottom of the 4th, the Astros were up 5-0 and were on their way to routing the Royals. However, C Salvador Perez hit a solo-shot into the left-field corner that gave the Royals their first run of the game. Lance McCullers ended his day with 5 innings pitched, 6 strikeouts, and 1 earned run.
As the top of the 6th came around, K.C. brought in RHP Tyler Zuber. Zuber has been pitching well during camp. In the sixth, Zuber only needed six pitches. He got Reddick to line out, Kyle Tucker to ground out and ended the inning by striking out Garneau.
Innings 7-9: Bubba-Bomb
The Astros added a run in the 7th due to a wild-pitch from Royals RP Greg Holland. Both teams made a lot of substitutions at this time. One of those subs would be Bobby Witt Jr. who ended up going 0 for 1 from the plate.
In the Bottom of the 8th, OF Bubba Starling came up to the plate and launched a 390 foot home-run into the left-field seats. This made the game 6-3 heading into the 9th inning.
Trevor Rosenthal continues to impress out of the bullpen, and continued from from right where he was, back in Spring Training. Rosenthal struck out his first batter on three straight 4-seam fastballs. He then got the next two batters, retiring the side in order.
In the bottom of the 9th, K.C. went down quietly and the Astros took the win. Lance McCullers picked up the win, while Mike Mongomery got the loss. LHP Blake Taylor got the save for Houston.
After all, the Royals looked rusty to start off the exhibition schedule which didn’t surprise me. However, the Royals bullpen is what kept the Royals in this game. The bullpen (McCarthy, Zuber, Holland, Fillmyer, and Rosenthal) went 5.1 innings, only giving up 4 hits, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts. The pen allowed only one run throughout those relief innings.Another note is the Royals scored all of their runs from the long ball tonight. It was nice to see Perez back behind the dish and Bubba Starling continues to show progression as a big-league hitter.
The next Royals exhibition game will be today at 1:05 PM Central time vs. the Houston Astros. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Kansas City and also on MLB Network. The probable Starters are Josh James for Houston and Glenn Sparkman for K.C.
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