09/25/09 1:40 AM ET
KC settles for split on tough night
Royals commit five errors; Greinke, Hillman ejected
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
The Kansas City boys made five errors that accounted for six unearned runs in a 10-3 loss to the Red Sox as 20,807 fans, many of them gals at the special promotion, watched the botched proceedings.
Winning the past two games, the Red Sox split the series and ended the Royals' streak of series won at four. Maybe it was an equitable arrangement. Both clubs had been playing well -- the Royals have won 12 of their past 17 and the Red Sox 12 of their past 15. The Sox also had won their previous four series.
Clearly, though, the Royals were not at their best in this 3-hour, 38-minute error-a-thon. They had not made five errors since Sept. 6, 2002, against Seattle. And the five errors tied the Major League high for this season (three other clubs had done it).
"Poor focus and concentration," manager Trey Hillman said. "Obviously with the number of errors that we've had, it's disappointing, especially when we have the chance to win three out of four from this club."
The Royals have 110 errors this season, second most in the American League.
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, notching his sixth straight victory, kept the Royals looking quite helpless at the plate, too. He held them scoreless on five hits through 6 2/3 innings.
The game turned in the Red Sox's fourth after David Ortiz led off with a home run against right-hander Anthony Lerew, who was making his first Royals start after being called up from the Minors.
Mike Lowell came to the plate, looked at an inside slider and then had to duck away to avoid a higher, more inside pitch from Lerew. Umpire Greg Gibson, who had tossed out spectator Zack Greinke for a vocal barb in the previous inning, ripped off his mask and immediately issued warnings to Lerew and both benches about throwing at hitters.
This triggered a rousing outburst by Hillman, who charged from the dugout and was immediately ejected. But Hillman continued to upbraid Gibson so vigorously that crew chief Tim McClelland had to step between them.
"I thought it was very poor judgment, because there's got to be intent," Hillman said. "Both were secondary pitches [sliders] the velocities of which were 76 and 78 mph. You don't have any intent with a secondary pitch that slips.
"With a guy making his Major League debut with our organization, to issue a warning takes a lot away from him. I just thought it was poor judgment to issue warnings."
For his part, Lerew pleaded innocent to any malicious intent.
"It was just two sliders that came out of the back of my hand," Lerew said. "I think it was like 75 mph or something like that, so I didn't understand why I got warned for that. But I guess he just thought he needed to do it so I just had to deal with it."
At any rate, the inning then fell apart for the Royals. Lowell walked, Casey Kotchman singled and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt booted Josh Reddick's bouncer for an error that let in a run. It turned into a three-run inning.
The first run against Lerew, in the third, scored on third baseman Alex Gordon's error. In the sixth, catcher Miguel Olivo's throwing error set up a run, although that actually was counted as earned. In the eighth, Betancourt booted another grounder that let in a run. And in the four-run ninth, second baseman Alberto Callaspo's boot led to three unearned runs.
By then, of course, the Royals' three-run outburst in the eighth inning that cut the Red Sox's lead to 6-3 was almost forgotten. Billy Butler launched a soaring, two-run homer -- his 19th -- off ex-Royals reliever Ramon Ramirez. Later in the inning, Olivo drew a bases-loaded free pass off Ramirez's replacement, Takashi Saito.
Lerew's first start drew a favorable response from Hillman.
"Overall, I thought he did pretty good," Hillman said. "Obviously, we let him down defensively. Sloppy defensive game, and it very well could have been the difference in the ballgame, even though they played add-on."
Yep, the guys couldn't do much right for Girls Nights Out.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.