06/23/07 1:42 AM ET
Royals rocked in opener with Brewers
Staff allows three home runs and eight extra-base hits
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
The latest defeat came Friday night, 11-6, to the Milwaukee Brewers, and while it probably was an artistic triumph to most of the 36,328 patrons at Miller Park, it was an ugly turn for the Royals.
Nothing seemed to go right. OK, Mark Teahen did have his first four-hit game of the season. Alex Gordon had two more hits, and posted his highest average, .232. Ryan Shealy, also, delivered a two-out, two-run double against Brewers starter Jeff Suppan.
But there were untoward events.
In the sixth inning, the Royals endured a two-base wild pitch and a stolen base when no one bothered to call time out. Neither incident produced scoring for the Brewers, but they typified the evening.
"We went over those things already," manager Buddy Bell said. "I think it was just not paying attention."
Tony Graffanino opened the inning with a home run against Royals starter Jorge De La Rosa. Shortstop Tony Pena booted Corey Hart's grounder, and De La Rosa's outing was over.
Hart scooted from first to third when reliever Neal Musser's pitch got through catcher John Buck.
"I blocked it off my knee and my ankle. I thought it went between my legs and I looked back, scanned and finally found it over by the dugout," Buck said.
Ryan Braun walked and skipped safely to second, while the Royals were gabbing on the mound with time not called.
"I think the two bases was just a matter of Buck didn't know where the ball was. I can understand that. The other was unacceptable. You just can't allow that to happen," Bell said.
The Interleague phase of the Royals season had been going well. They were 9-4 against the National League until two losses in St. Louis, and the series opener in Milwaukee.
De La Rosa was making his first start against the Brewers, who traded him to the Royals last July. Braun hit a solo shot in the first inning -- he finished 4-for-4 with a walk. The Brewers, then, pushed home a runner in the third.
In Bell's eyes, De La Rosa to that point was much better than he'd been of late.
"It wasn't as inconsistent as it has been," Bell said. "There was more good than bad. But, after the inning where they scored four, he just couldn't regain what he had previously. He had great stuff before that but things just kind of snowballed. He was wild over the plate again."
After the Royals forged a 2-2 tie, the Brewers crammed in four runs in the fourth. De La Rosa gave up five hits, including the annoying Braun's two-run double.
In another moment that went askew, left fielder Emil Brown threw up his hands briefly as Braun's hit caromed off the wall. That was because Brown saw the ball stick between two cushions on the wall.
"It did stick for a second," Brown said.
However, he quickly abandoned that thought when the ball bounced toward him. No more hands up.
"Not with a guy rounding the bases," he said.
So, De La Rosa lasted just five-plus innings, giving up seven runs and taking his sixth straight loss. He did detect slippage in the fourth.
"I was throwing strikes but right in the middle [of the plate]," he said.
Suppan, the ex-Royal, actually was out of the game before De La Rosa, but he got his eighth win. Suppan, in his career, has a 10-2 record in 14 starts at Miller Park.
Neal Musser relieved De La Rosa and did fine until there were two outs in the seventh. A hit, a walk and boom -- Hart's three-run homer put the Brewers out of reach, 10-5.
Hart, the 6-6 leadoff batter, wound up with four RBIs, three hits and three runs scored. That meshed well with Braun's perfect night. Hart bumped his average to .309, while Braun's went up to .333.
"I haven't seen them much but they were pretty impressive tonight. The kid at third I've never seen and I've seen Hart a little bit," Bell said. "They've got a lot of good young players. We knew that coming in. They'll have an interesting team as they get a little older, too."
After watching his own team this night, Bell himself probably was feeling a lot older.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.