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Royals' bullpen yields in marathon with Yanks

Pounders logs 2 scoreless frames, but Young struggles in 13th
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- With an already banged up and depleted bullpen, the Royals were ill equipped to get into another marathon match against the Yankees. But that was exactly the case on Wednesday night.

Starter Ian Kennedy went 6 1/3 innings, but gave up four earned runs. With the offense unable to get a hit from the seventh inning on, the Royals had to keep going to their bullpen until they were finally out of options in a 5-4 loss in 13 innings to close out what had been a red-hot August.

Full Game Coverage

KANSAS CITY -- With an already banged up and depleted bullpen, the Royals were ill equipped to get into another marathon match against the Yankees. But that was exactly the case on Wednesday night.

Starter Ian Kennedy went 6 1/3 innings, but gave up four earned runs. With the offense unable to get a hit from the seventh inning on, the Royals had to keep going to their bullpen until they were finally out of options in a 5-4 loss in 13 innings to close out what had been a red-hot August.

Full Game Coverage

"Man, those guys were on fumes. Going into the day, there was no way I wanted to use [Matt] Strahm, [Joakim] Soria, [Peter] Moylan or [Brian] Flynn," manager Ned Yost said. "But these guys, they just go out ... they just compete their tails off. They're just great competitors."

Left-hander Scott Alexander, who had been called up from Triple-A before the game along with right-hander Brooks Pounders, was the first out of the bullpen. With the Royals holding a 4-3 lead, Alexander inherited a runner on first, but was unable to keep him from scoring.

However, that was the only damage done for a while. After getting through the inning, Alexander recorded the first two outs of the eighth. Moylan came on to finish off the side, but an error by Cheslor Cuthbert allowed Starlin Castro to reach with two out.

Not wanting to extend Moylan any further, Yost turned to the lefty Flynn to finish off the side with the score tied at 4. But the Yankees bullpen was just as stout.

"They did a good job of mixing it up after [the first few innings]," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "They just did a good job of mixing it up. It's a game we would like to have, we should've had. It just didn't happen."

Pounders emerged from the bullpen to pitch the 10th and the 11th. He retired the Yankees in order twice, eventually handing the ball over to Young for the 12th.

"You can't say enough about the job the 'pen did tonight," Pounders said.

Young got off to a shaky start, but escaped the 12th unharmed after loading the bases with one out. He struggled again in the 13th, allowing the first two batters to reach, which forced Yost to make a move he had previously avoided, bringing in Strahm to try and limit the damage.

"What other options [were there], unless I could've just pulled somebody out of the stands and said, 'Hey, you ever pitched before?'" Yost said. "I didn't want to use [Strahm]. It took everything that I could muster to get him up. The kid's never been back-to-back, he's coming off of Tommy John [surgery] a couple years ago. This is all new territory for him."

Strahm, who entered having stranded all 11 inherited runners in his Major League career, made the best of the situation, but still yielded the go-ahead sacrifice fly to Brian McCann.

"Yesterday was really tough. We were 90 feet from tying the ballgame up and we had our two fastest guys on base. ... And then tonight was tough," Kennedy said. "But we've been playing too good ... We've got to move on. We have a big series against Detroit [starting on Friday]. We're playing in home in front of our crowd. I'll take that."

Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kansas City Royals