KANSAS CITY, Mo. (TNS) — A pair of veteran pitchers let a rookie’s first chance at a major-league win slip out of the Royals’ grasp on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.
With the Royals leading by two runs in the ninth inning, embattled reliever Brandon Maurer allowed three straight hits and blew a save as the Tigers tied the game. Jason Hammel, making his fourth appearance out of the bullpen since shuffling out of the rotation in disgrace at the beginning of July, allowed a double to James McCann that put the Tigers ahead in the Royals’ 5-4 defeat.
Royals closer Wily Peralta was shelved after appearing in three straight games. Maurer, who’s recorded three saves since joining the Royals in a trade 364 days ago, was trusted to keep Heath Fillmyer in line for the win.
He couldn’t, and took the loss instead. Jeimer Candelario led off the ninth with a single, Victor Martinez followed with a double and both scored on Jim Adduci’s double to left field.
Hammel finished the inning without allowing further damage. But the Royals’ post-All-Star break winning streak ended at three games.
Fillmyer had dazzled the Tigers through 6 2/3 scoreless innings. The two runs charged to him scored after he left the game in the seventh inning.
Fillmyer retired 15 straight batters before issuing a nine-pitch walk to Martinez in the seventh, which yanked his pitch count up to 87. With Kevin McCarthy warming for a second straight inning in the bullpen, manager Ned Yost left the dugout to check on the 24-year-old from New Jersey. Yost had only planned for Fillmyer to throw some 80 pitches, not come this far.
But Fillmyer convinced Yost he was fine. He was allowed to pitch to left-hander Adduci, who’d only reached base once on a fielder’s choice in the second. Fillmyer might have gotten him out, too, if Adduci hadn’t jumped on a first-pitch curveball and lofted it to the left-field line. With Hunter Dozier and Jorge Bonifacio converging to make a play on it, Dozier slid and came up empty. Adduci was awarded a base hit and Fillmyer was given the hook.
McCarthy couldn’t limit the damage there. James McCann lined a single into right field under a diving Whit Merrifield and drove home Martinez. Aducci scored two pitches later and cut the Royals’ advantage to 3-2 when Jose Iglesias beat out a throw from Dozier that pulled first baseman Salvador Perez off the bag.
The Royals fell to 30-69.