Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Royal Mess Two Eighth-Inning Errors Undermine Cole's Strong Outing, Set Up Loss Royals 3, Pirates 1

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Royal Mess Two Eighth-Inning Errors Undermine Cole's Strong Outing, Set Up Loss Royals 3, Pirates 1

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Jarrod Dyson made the Pirates pay for their misplays, and they made plenty late Tuesday night. The speedy Kansas City Royals No. 9 hitter turned on Gerrit Cole's 97 mph eighth-inning fastball and lined a broken-bat single over a drawn- in infield to score two runners who shouldn't have been in scoring position.

The Royals scored three runs in the eighth, and Gregory Polanco struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth to cap a 3-1 Royals win at Kauffman Stadium. Cole (13-4) lost his fourth of a sterling All-Star season, but the defeat was hardly deserved.

"I'm not so sure they got to Cole, to be quite frank," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We got in our way in the eighth inning. We got in our way on three consecutive plays in the field."

Officially, Cole allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits, but the deciding rally started with a Neil Walker error. Omar Infante's one-out grounder rolled between Walker's legs, putting the winning run on base.

"Don't even go there," Walker fumed afterward when asked whether the ball had played tricks on him. "I missed the ball. Plain and simple. . I feel worse than anybody about putting Cole in that situation, especially with how well he pitched. It didn't do anything. It just went right under my glove."

Alex Rios singled to center, and Andrew McCutchen unwisely threw the ball to third, allowing Rios to advance to second. Cole took the blame on that single. He had left the pitch over the plate, just like he had done earlier when Rios doubled.

"Frustrating that I made the same mistake twice," Cole said.

Dyson singled to right, scoring both runners when Polanco bobbled the ball, and Cole was done. Before he walked off the mound, Cole tapped each of his infielders on the chest.

"It was one ground ball," he said. "So be it. . Walker makes that play 99 times out of 100. Who cares about that? We had an opportunity to get a double play there, and we didn't get it."

After an elbow injury forced out left-hander Jason Vargas in the second, the Kansas City Royals bullpen was for another long game. …

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