CLEVELAND -- As Royals manager Ned Yost walked out to the mound, right-hander Chris Young stood with his head facing the ground. He had surrendered three home runs in the inning, which put the Royals in a hole in a 7-0 loss to the Indians on Sunday at Progressive Field.As
CLEVELAND -- As Royals manager Ned Yost walked out to the mound, right-hander Chris Young stood with his head facing the ground. He had surrendered three home runs in the inning, which put the Royals in a hole in a 7-0 loss to the Indians on Sunday at Progressive Field.
As Young walked off the field, his eyes stayed toward the ground. In the clubhouse after the game, his frustration was visible.
"I need to be better," Young said. "If I make a mistake, it gets hit out."
The long ball left its mark on the Royals Sunday, but really it was a factor the entire weekend. In the final three games of the series, the Royals surrendered nine home runs.
The three blasts in the fifth inning of Sunday's game took the shortest route over the smaller right-field wall, but throughout the series, the home runs were sprayed all throughout the park.
"We were talking about it in the dugout," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "You could see that part of the ballpark was going to play small. It's why it's kind of nice to spread it out a little bit because that can work for both sides."
As of late, the long ball has hurt a Royals team that has surrendered at least one in four of the last five games. What seems to be especially problematic were the early runs. The Royals fell to 6-22 on the year when giving up the first run of the game. That was the case in all four outings throughout the series.
They also fell to 14-16 with their starter working less than six innings. Only one starter, right-hander Edinson Volquez, made it more than six innings during the series in Cleveland. He gave up five earned runs on seven hits, two of which were home runs.
"It's just one of those weekends," Yost said. "You go through these streaks. You try to eliminate frustration as much as you can."
As for the problem of allowing home runs, the pitchers have taken responsibility after each game. Volquez said he had "bad fastball command" in his start Friday, while right-hander Ian Kennedy chalked his struggles one day later up to making three mistakes with his pitches.
On Sunday, a frustrated Young owned his mistakes. He acknowledged the home run issues and didn't sugarcoat it.
"The three sliders: they killed us," Young said. "Whether it's my last pitch or my first pitch, you have to execute. I didn't execute those pitches."
Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.