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Lynch Tosses Quality Start as Royals Settle for Split


By: Joey Johnston, Kansas City Royals


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ( – The Royals went quietly Sunday at Tropicana Field. They had just four hits, all singles. They struck out 17 times. There weren’t any particularly hard outs, and there were only five balls that were hit out of the infield.

But after a 3-1 defeat against the first-place Rays, the Royals could still console themselves with a four-game split against baseball’s best team, hinting at the fact that maybe Kansas City’s (22-56) fortunes are beginning to turn around.

“We did some good things, but to me, it doesn’t matter,’’ Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “Split or whatever, you want to win every game. And when you don’t, it’s a disappointment regardless of who you’re playing.’’

The Royals had a chance to take three of four on the road, but it slipped away with a choppy seventh inning. Taylor Clarke entered for Daniel Lynch, who tossed a quality start, and loaded the bases before a wild pitch allowed the Rays to take a 2-1 lead.

With one out, Clarke walked Jose Siri, then Yandy Díaz followed with a slow grounder that got past the mound and bounced near second base. Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. made a nice pickup behind the bag, but threw wildly to first, allowing runners to advance to second and third.

“Just a bad throw,’’ Witt said.

Following an intentional walk to Wander Franco, Clarke’s 2-2 offering to Harold Ramírez got past catcher Salvador Perez, allowing Siri to score. Ramírez then added an insurance run on a sacrifice fly to Drew Waters in center field.

That was more than enough for a dominant day from the Rays’ pitching staff. Starter Tyler Glasnow struck out 12 over five innings, and the bullpen didn’t allow a hit in the four scoreless frames needed to close out the game.

“[Glasnow] has elite stuff,’’ Quatraro said. “He has a plus-fastball that, when he can elevate it, it’s really tough to lay off. He has two plus breaking balls and he [induces] swings and misses in the zone when he gets you to chase.

“Those guys [in the Rays’ bullpen] are no slouches, either. They are bringing in quality arms to finish up the game.’’

The Royals scored their only run on a fourth-inning RBI single by Maikel Garcia, who has reached base in 19 of his last 22 games.

But it wasn’t enough to help Lynch, who allowed just one run (a solo homer to Siri in the third inning) on six hits over six frames. Lynch, coming off seven scoreless innings last week against the Tigers, has an 0.69 ERA in his past two outings.

“Daniel Lynch doing Daniel Lynch things,’’ Witt said.

“The Rays made him work, but he made some tough pitches and got some soft contact,’’ Quatraro said.

Lynch said he feels he’s trending upward — a sentiment that could be directed toward the Royals as a whole.

“I definitely gave up less hard contact, but I wasn’t quite as lucky,’’ Lynch said. “I made pitches when I had to. I thought our defense was awesome.

“You go up against a guy of that caliber [Glasnow], you know it’s going to be a battle. Overall this weekend, our offense did a great job against some really good pitchers. We were in the games. We battled back in a couple of them. We played great defense the whole time. There are definitely some positives to take away. Now it’s up to us to build on those positives.’’