Eric Hosmer's 21st home run of the season was the first game-ending shot of his career.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eric Hosmer got a lot of close-up looks at Greg Holland over the years. So when it came time to face his former Kansas City teammate, Hosmer remembered what to do.
And what not to do, too.
Hosmer hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning off Holland, lifting the Royals over the Colorado Rockies 6-4 on Wednesday night.
“Just knowing how good his slider is, I was just trying to look for something up,” Hosmer said. “Anything that starts belt high or a little above is going to go right to the ground.”
“So, I was just trying to see something up and put a good swing on one. A swing like that can really get things going for the team. Hopefully, we can continue on and keep playing good baseball,” he said.
The Rockies have lost four straight and 11 of 15.
Holland (2-5) fell to 0-4 with one save in four opportunities in his past six games, allowing 10 hits, three home runs and 12 runs over five innings.
Rockies manager Bud Black said he prefers not to take Holland out of his closer’s role.
“We’ll talk about it, but my initial instinct is to keep Greg where he is,” Black said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without him. He’s going through a little bit of a tough stretch as far as making pitches. Arm feels good. Still has confidence.”
“We’ve got to get him to the point where he’s locating the slider, locating the fastball. Getting that last out or making that last pitch to get the save. That’s been the case of the last three times where it’s been one out away or one strike away and he just hasn’t executed the pitch,” he said.
The former Royals closer issued a leadoff walk in the ninth, gave up a two-out single to Melky Cabrera and then was tagged by Hosmer on a 1-1 pitch.
“It’s all predicated on throwing good pitches at this level and I didn’t do that today,” Holland said.
Brandon Maurer (2-1) pitched the ninth.
Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado homered for the Rockies in a matchup of playoff contenders.
Blackmon hit his career-high 30th. He became the first National League leadoff man to reach 30 home runs since Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins in 2008.
Arenado, who has homered in back-to-back games, hit his 29th in the first. He leads the majors with 108 RBIs and 74 extra-base hits.
Arenado has a major league-leading .430 batting average in the first inning.
Rockies rookie Antonio Senzatela allowed nine hits but just two runs in five innings.
Ian Kennedy failed to make it out of the fifth for Kansas City, yielding three runs on seven hits, including two home runs. In his past two starts, he has surrendered eight runs on 13 hits, including four home runs, in 7 1/3 innings.
Kennedy is 0-6 with a 5.97 ERA in 12 home starts this season. He has a franchise record of 16 winless starts since beating the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 20, 2016.
Whit Merrifield had four hits for the Royals, matching his career high.
Royals C Salvador Perez has been the DH 13 games this season, but he won’t be used in that role again this season. He strained his right intercostal swinging on Aug. 4 and missed 15 games. “When you’re catching, you’re staying loose and you’re staying mobile,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “When you’re DHing, you have an at-bat and then sit. It’s probably something we won’t entertain.”
Rockies: IF-OF Ian Desmond (right calf strain) will begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Triple-A Albuquerque. If he has no setbacks, Desmond could be activated Sunday. … LHP Tyler Anderson (left knee inflammation) threw a 45-to-50 pitch three inning simulated game. He will throw another simulated game before going out on a rehab assignment. “This is more about, I think, the knee strength moving forward,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “His arm has felt pretty good all year.
Royals: RHP Kelvin Herrera will circumvent a trip to the disabled list after being removed in the ninth inning Tuesday with forearm tightness. The Royals do not expect their closer will miss much time, if any.
Rockies: RHP German Marquez is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts against American League clubs.
Royals: RHP Jake Junis has a 4.79 ERA in his eight major league starts.