KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' bullpen did give up a 2-1 lead late in a disappointing 3-2 loss to the Rockies on Thursday, but Kansas City fully believes its relief corps, which had a horrible start to the month of August, is back in a groove after the Rockies series.Left-hander
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' bullpen did give up a 2-1 lead late in a disappointing 3-2 loss to the Rockies on Thursday, but Kansas City fully believes its relief corps, which had a horrible start to the month of August, is back in a groove after the Rockies series.
Left-hander Scott Alexander got a critical out Tuesday for his first Major League save in a tense 3-2 win. On Wednesday, the bullpen held the Rockies scoreless for 3 1/3 innings to allow for Eric Hosmer's dramatic three-run homer in a 6-4 walk-off win.
And even Thursday, the bullpen did its job right up until Mike Minor served up a 3-2 floating curveball that Pat Valaika lifted out to left for a two-run homer in the eighth.
"Just one bad pitch," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Alexander again was facing a tough spot Thursday with runners on first and third and one out in the sixth, trying to protect a 2-0 lead. He allowed a run-scoring single to his first batter, Ramiel Tapia, but Alexander's heavy sinker did its job on Trevor Story, who bounced into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
In the seventh, side-armed sinker-baller Peter Moylan came on with the potential tying run on first and one out. Moylan got DJ LeMahieu to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.
Even in the eighth, Minor was one pitch away from getting out of the inning when a 3-2 curveball floated instead of diving.
"It was a terrible pitch," Minor said. "There were a lot of them in that at-bat. I just hung it. It didn't have good break. It was a like a cement mixer, no depth to it."
But Yost chose to see the big picture.
"Bullpen did a fantastic job," Yost said. "Moylan, Alexander, and Minor, expect for one pitch up. It's a good sign.
"Guys are back executing pitches. Results have obviously been much better. This was a tough loss. But I think as a team we're playing pretty good right now."
Moylan said he, too, believes the bullpen is back.
"That's what it's like to be a reliever," he said. "Sometimes you come out and it's great. And the next time you come out and it's not so great. You just have to keep coming back and battling."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.