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Royals’ bunts beat Orioles, 7-5, on sloppy defensive night

Kansas City Royals' Meibrys Viloria (72) scores as Baltimore Orioles catcher Chance Sisco (15) waits for a late throw in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Kansas City Royals' Meibrys Viloria (72) scores as Baltimore Orioles catcher Chance Sisco (15) waits for a late throw in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley) (Colin E. Braley/AP)

After the Royals got to electric Orioles rookie reliever Hunter Harvey for a game-tying home run in the seventh inning Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium, they found their path in the eighth a lot simpler: just bunt.

Kansas City’s bunts and a bit of a defensive meltdown by the Orioles helped the Royals to a 7-5 victory.

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“Just disappointing,” manager Brandon Hyde said. "I’m disappointed with our defense there in the fourth. I thought we gave them two runs there, and a couple tough plays there in the eighth didn’t go our way. We’ve been playing well defensively. Just tonight, we didn’t make the plays in the big spots. "

The bottom third of the Royals’ order — Meibrys Viloria, Brett Phillips, and Nicky Lopez — each bunted off Paul Fry and reached to load the bases, with runs coming in to score on a sacrifice fly by Whit Merrifield and a groundout by Hunter Dozier.

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While Viloria’s bunt caught the Orioles somewhat by surprise, Phillips’ and Lopez’s seemed to be challenges. Both were right in front of the plate, and on each, catcher Chance Sisco tried to get the lead runner.

Meibrys Viloria of the Kansas City Royals runs past catcher Chance Sisco of the Baltimore Orioles as he scores in the eighth inning at Kauffman Stadium.
Meibrys Viloria of the Kansas City Royals runs past catcher Chance Sisco of the Baltimore Orioles as he scores in the eighth inning at Kauffman Stadium. (Ed Zurga/Getty)

On the Phillips bunt, Sisco bounced the throw to second base, and Jonathan Villar couldn’t pick it. The throw to third on the Lopez bunt was slightly in foul territory, but Rio Ruiz couldn’t pick it.

Hyde said going for the lead runner was “absolutely” the right play on each.

“Both of those bunts deadened in front of the plate,” Hyde said. “I love to see him be aggressive and take a chance at the lead runner.”

Sisco said, “Very frustrating. It sucks, obviously.

"I felt like we had him on both of them, should have had him on both of them. I’ve just got to make a better play.

Miguel Castro ultimately got three quick outs around an intentional walk, but the two runs helped dropped the Orioles to 45-90.

Harvey slips

Harvey allowed just two hits and no runs in his first four outings out of the Orioles’ bullpen, but had his first slip-up Saturday in Kansas City. After striking out Jorge Soler, Harvey left a fastball over the plate to Dozier, who blasted it out to center field for the game-tying home run.

Harvey still struck out two, and has nine strikeouts in five innings of relief in the majors so far.

“I think he’ll be fine," Hyde said. “I’m sure he’s itching to get back out there. He’s not going to be perfect, and he’s going to give up a lot more homers. That’s the life of a reliever.”

Relief pitcher Hunter Harvey of the Baltimore Orioles throws in the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Relief pitcher Hunter Harvey of the Baltimore Orioles throws in the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. (Ed Zurga/Getty)

Two for Tony

Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander’s first career two-homer game featured one from the left side against Royals starter Jorge López, and one from the right side against reliever Tim Hill.

It was fitting for a player who has been almost equal from each side all season. Entering Saturday’s game, he was batting .289 with an .815 OPS and seven home runs from the left side, and .286 with an .845 OPS and seven home runs from the left side.

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Harder than it had to be

Most of the damage off Orioles starter Dylan Bundy came in the Royals’ three-run fourth inning, when Bundy got himself into trouble by putting the first three batters on and didn’t get any favors from the defense in getting out of it.

Center fielder Stevie Wilkerson dropped a sacrifice fly to keep the bases loaded as the first run scored. Then, the Orioles had an infield adventure on a ball to second baseman Hanser Alberto where he looked the runner back to first and threw there for the force, but the throw to second base was off line. The Royals ended up with three runs when they could have had just one, as the third out scored on a sacrifice fly. But Sisco and Santander homered to erase that deficit quickly.

Bundy left with a lead, having allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in six innings.

“It’s tough, but those are things you learn from,” Bundy said. “We’ll come back tomorrow and not make the same mistakes. We played a good game, I thought, as far as battling. The whole team. We’ll just come back ready to play tomorrow.”

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