In the end loss is a Royal nightmare
Bullpen spoils Davies' outing with late-inning meltdown
KANSAS CITY -- This was another knee-buckling loss for the Royals.
David Murphy's grand slam powered a lightning strike for the Texas Rangers, who again came from behind to beat the Royals, 11-5, on Wednesday night as 20,840 fans watched at Kauffman Stadium.
Murphy connected off left-handed reliever Jimmy Gobble in the Rangers' seven-run seventh inning.
That wiped out a 5-1 Royals lead and brought back unpleasant memories of the series opener on Tuesday night when the Royals also blew a 5-1 lead and lost, 6-5.
The comeback also nullified a four-RBI game by Mark Grudzielanek, who doubled in two runs and also belted a two-run homer as the Royals surged ahead.
"It was nice for seven innings," Grudzielanek said, "but we don't play seven innings."
Actually, to be more precise, it was nice for six innings.
Because Ramon Vazquez opened the seventh with a triple off reliever Jeff Fulchino and six batters later, the Rangers still had not made an out. It was a messy inning. Shortstop Mike Aviles made an error and center fielder Joey Gathright missed catching a pop fly that went for a double. All the runs in the inning came against the bullpen.
Murphy came up with the bases loaded and the Royals still ahead, 5-3. He drove a 2-0 pitch from Gobble onto the narrow stretch of grass next to the right-field bullpen.
Boom, it was 8-5 Rangers by the time the inning ended.
But Gobble refused to look on the negative side in the hear-a-pin-drop Royals clubhouse.
"You've got to go out and do your job," he said. "I feel like I'm good at doing my job and, obviously, I haven't proven that to some extent. There's still a lot of year left and I'll be ready to pitch."
Gobble, who faced four batters and didn't get an out, was rescued by Yasuhiko Yabuta. Manager Trey Hillman didn't want to use Yabuta, who threw 20 pitches on Tuesday.
"Guys are used up. That's the bottom line," Hillman said.
Not only that, his closer, Joakim Soria, was still being held out of action because of a sore glute.
"Soria was not available, not that we'd have brought him into the seventh inning anyway, but he needed another day," Hillman said.
The Rangers weren't finished after their seven-run burst, either. Murphy led off the ninth with his second home run against Brett Tomko, who gave up three runs on five hits in the inning.
On the other hand, Royals starter Kyle Davies dodged trouble all through his six innings. In the first three innings alone, he forced the Rangers to strand six runners.
Heck, he walked the bases full in the second with one out and escaped with a double play. The Rangers finally got a run on Marlon Byrd's leadoff double and Gerald Laird's single in the fourth, but that was it off Davies.
"I ran my pitch count up pretty high early," Davies said. "We made some great defensive plays to get me out of some jams."
Davies doled out five walks and his pitch count reached a lofty 109 by the sixth. That aggravated him because he needed to carry on into the seventh to help save the weary bullpen.
"It slows the game down and puts everybody back on their heels. [Grudzielanek] made two good plays and Aviles made a great double play for me but you can't walk 'em," Davies said.
The Royals took a 3-1 lead against right-hander Vicente Padilla. Aviles singled, Gathright was hit by a pitch in the third and both scored on Grudzielanek's double.
The third run was a fifth-inning gift. Alex Gordon walked and went to third on Jose Guillen's single. And when second baseman Ian Kinsler botched the throw in, Gordon charged home on the error.
Grudzielanek lashed a two-run homer in the sixth off Padilla, following Aviles' leadoff single. That was Padilla's last inning but the Rangers' rally put him in position for his eighth victory.
In the aftermath, Gobble sat in the largely deserted clubhouse and, in effect, sounded a call for action.
"I would hope nobody in this clubhouse would come here tomorrow and be doubting themselves. Because if you doubt yourself, then you're done," he said.
"So tomorrow we've got to go out there and fight. And fight to win -- that's the way you do it."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.