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Kansas City Royals starter Jordan Lyles recorded his 15th consecutive game with five or more innings pitched on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough.
Lyles limited the Chicago Cubs to just four runs (two earned), but the two runs he allowed in the first inning were the Royals’ undoing in a 4-3 loss at Wrigley Field. Cubs duo Seiya Suzuki and Miguel Amaya hit home runs in the Cubs victory.
“The first inning wasn’t ideal,” Lyles said. “Salvy and I got in cruise control and later on in the game, just two mistakes, backup sliders that left the yard. Execution-wise (it) wasn’t there on those pitches. Thankfully, there wasn’t anyone on base, so it was a single run each time.”
Lyles dropped to 3-14 this season. KC fell to 3-21 when he starts.
Lyles has received an average of 4.7 runs from the Royals’ offense per outing, but they mustered three runs for him Sunday. In the first inning, second baseman Michael Massey hit an RBI single to score shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.
The Royals scored two runs in the ninth. Third baseman Maikel Garcia, who pinch-hit after not starting due to left upper-body discomfort, hit an RBI single. KC got another run after outfielder Drew Waters grounded into a fielder’s choice.
“His record is not an indication of how he’s pitched this year,” Massey said of Lyles. “He took us the whole game right there and he’s done that multiple times this year. He’s pitched awesome, and we’ve just got to do a better job as an offense of putting up runs and being able to do that more consistently.”
Lyles has three complete-game losses this season. He also threw complete games against the Chicago White Sox (May 9) and Boston Red Sox (Aug. 9).
KC’s bats were largely quiet for the majority of the game. Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks scattered five hits, locating pitches well throughout his start.
Hendricks won his fifth game of the season. He allowed one run and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
“He had two changeups working going both directions,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “He stayed off the barrel. The at-bats were competitive, but we had trouble squaring him up.”
The Royals dropped to 40-86 and will begin a three-game series at the Oakland Athletics on Monday.
Missed previous games of the series?
Here are more notables from Sunday’s game:
Royals produce two defensive highlights
The Royals turned in some quality glove work against the Cubs.
In the third inning, Witt took away a hit with a sliding catch. He raced from his position and chased down a pop fly from Cubs outfielder Mike Tauchman.
Witt covered a lot of ground as the baseball was hit between three defenders.
“We’ve seen him do that several times,” Quatraro said. “He is really good at that. “It was a really solid defensive game and he turned a nice double play.”
An inning later, Royals outfielder MJ Melendez made a diving catch. He rushed in from left field to rob Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson. Melendez got a good jump and lost his hat in the process.
Both plays helped Lyles, who was locked in a pitcher’s duel against Cubs starting pitcher Hendricks.
Maikel Garcia hits pinch-hit RBI single
Royals standout Maikel Garcia was clutch in the ninth inning against the Cubs. After not starting due to left upper-body discomfort, Garcia made his presence felt in a big way.
Garcia hit a RBI single to score outfielder Nelson Velázquez. It was one of two runs scored by the Royals during their ninth-inning comeback attempt.
“We didn’t happen to win today, but you have to go out and compete,” Garcia said through an interpreter.
Garcia is hitting .286 this season with four home runs, 41 RBIs and 18 stolen bases.
What’s next: The Royals continue their road trip and begin a three-game series against the Oakland A’s Monday night. Tucker Davidson will be the Royals’ starting pitcher.