Royals suffer stinging 4-3 loss in series finale at Anaheim
MAY 25, 2014 6:50p ET
Yet another loss that is going to sting.
The Royals seemingly had a win and the series locked up as they held a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. With the Royals' bullpen, those types of leads are almost automatically converted into wins.
Not this time.
A ground-ball double by the Angels' Mike Trout off right-hander Kelvin Herrera in the seventh made it 3-1, and a two-run flare to right center by David Freese tied it.
Then, Angels catcher Chris Iannetta smoked a line-drive homer to left in the eighth off left-hander Tim Collins to put the Angels up 4-3.
The Royals did put the tying run in scoring position in the ninth when catcher Sal Perez doubled with one out. But Lorenzo Cain flied out softly to right field and Alcides Escobar popped out to second.
-- Pedro Ciriaco has a day. Filling in for the injured Omar Infante, Ciriaco came through Sunday with a big hit to get the Royals going in their three-run third. With Jimmy Paredes on second, Ciriaco blooped one into short right-center that scored Paredes. Ciriaco also bolted for second and made it without a throw. Ciriaco went to third on an infield hit by Jarrod Dyson, and scored on a very short fly to left from Eric Hosmer. Great base running there.
-- Vargas battles his you-know-what off. It was clear that Jason Vargas didn't have his good command. He fell behind numerous hitters and wound up walking five, tying a career high. But Vargas kept fighting his way out of trouble and kept the Royals in the lead before departing with one out in the seventh. With the Royals' bullpen spent from the 13-inning game Saturday, it was necessary for Vargas to go as deep into the game as he could. And he did it without his best stuff.
-- Lorenzo's throw. Cain already made a fantastic catch in the series, going over the fence to take away a homer Friday. On Sunday, after the Angels had rallied for three runs to tie it in the seventh, it appeared they might take the lead when Albert Pujols tried to score from second on a single to right. But Cain came up firing and threw a strike to Perez, who tagged out Pujols. The Angels challenged and, for once, didn't get the call, and the game remained tied 3-3 after seven.
-- Royals lose a challenge. For the second time in the series, the Royals got burned by the replay men in New York. Alex Gordon's spectacular juggling catch Saturday was reversed, and Pujols was awarded a double. On Sunday, Dyson led off the game with a walk. He promptly stole second but was called out after it appeared his trailing foot might have come off the base. But Royals manager Ned Yost challenged, and replays appeared to show fairly clearly that Dyson's foot indeed stayed on the base throughout the play. But the officials back in New York ruled otherwise, and Dyson was declared out.
-- Losing their patience. The Royals did a great job the first three innings of being patient against Angels starter Garrett Richards. In fact, they pushed his pitch count to near 70, and getting him out of the game early would have been advantageous, considering the Angels, like the Royals, had to burn their bullpen in the 13-inning game Saturday. But after the third inning, the Royals suddenly came out hacking. And they kept hacking, allowing Richards to make it through seven innings with 108 pitches.
-- Why not guard the line? The big play in the bottom of the seventh was Trout's two-out grounder that skipped past Paredes, who was playing third for the injured Danny Valencia. For some reason, Paredes was well off the line and Trout's grounder scooted down the left-field line for an RBI double. If Paredes had been closer to the line, the inning likely would have ended with a rather routine groundout and the Royals still leading 3-0.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at email@example.com.