Missed opportunities early on come back to bite Royals in Seattle
Seattle left-hander Mike Montgomery got his revenge Tuesday night — but only after the Royals let him.
Kansas City squandered chances in both the first and second innings to dent Montgomery, but stranded a combined four runners on its way to a 7-0 loss to Seattle on Tuesday. Montgomery rebounded from a turbulent first two innings to toss a complete-game shutout against his former organization.
Kansas City drafted Montgomery in the first round in 2008. He was shipped to Tampa Bay by the Royals as a piece of the James Shields and Wade Davis trade. The Rays exchanged him for Seattle’s Erasmo Ramirez in March.
Montgomery was shaky against Kansas City early, loading the bases with no outs in the first. But Eric Hosmer struck out and Kendrys Morales grounded into a double play. The first two batters reached in the second. Montgomery struck out the next three Royals. Both chances had evaporated.
Montgomery struck out a career-high 10 on Tuesday night. He hadn’t struck out double-digit batters at any level since 2010, when he was at Kansas City’s High A affiliate.
In the final seven innings, Kansas City had just two baserunners. Salvador Perez reached on a seventh-inning error. Morales had a ninth-inning base hit.
The Royals have now lost their last seven games against left-handed starters. Seattle trots out lefty Roenis Elias Wednesday night.
• Moustakas extends hit streak. Mike Moustakas collected one of the four Royals hits Tuesday night, stretching his hit streak to eight games. Over that span, Moustakas is 12 for 31 (.387). It’s the longest current Royals hit streak and is four games shy of Kansas City’s longest this year. Hosmer had a 12-game streak in early May.
• Cain saves potential cycle. Seattle’s Dustin Ackley stepped to the plate in the seventh inning a triple shy of the cycle. He lined a ball into the left-center-field gap that Lorenzo Cain adeptly chased down to record the out and deny Ackley a shot at legging out a triple.
Ackley doubled in the second, singled in the fourth and homered in the fifth. It was the second time in the last three days Cain recorded an out when the batter was one hit away from the cycle. He caught Boston center fielder Mookie Betts’ flyball on Sunday, when Betts needed a single for the cycle.
• Mariot makes 2015 debut. Right-hander Michael Mariot appeared with the Royals for the first time Tuesday night. He gave up a solo home run to Logan Morrison in two innings of work. Mariot walked one and struck out one.
He was called up from Triple A on Monday after 22 relief appearances with Omaha.
• Guthrie’s command. Unlike Montgomery, Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie struggled more as the game went deeper. He allowed two hits in the first three innings, but kept Seattle off the board. But he walked two Mariners in a three-run fourth inning, including Brad Miller with the bases loaded.
In the fifth, Guthrie floated meaty pitches over the heart of the plate, welcoming Robinson Cano’s double, Seth Smith’s single and Ackley’s two-run homer. Guthrie departed after five innings, giving up six runs on nine hits. His ERA is now 5.90.
• Hitting with RISP. Kansas City’s only opportunities with runners in scoring position came in the first two innings. It went 0 for 5 with four strikeouts and a double play. No other Royal reached second base.
• Ball escapes Gordon. Alex Gordon couldn’t make a sliding grab of Ackley’s flare to left in the fourth inning, allowing Seattle an extra out. If Gordon had made the catch, it was unlikely Kyle Seager would have tagged and scored from third. Ackley, though, would eventually come around to score.