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Hammel's strong start derailed by KC errors

Esky's misplay opens door in 7th for Reds to sweep series
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- Another solid outing by a Royals starter. But the offensive rut rolls on.

Right-hander Jason Hammel gave up just two earned runs over 7 1/3 innings, but he received no offensive support in a 7-0 loss to the Reds on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium. Cincinnati swept the two-game set.

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KANSAS CITY -- Another solid outing by a Royals starter. But the offensive rut rolls on.

Right-hander Jason Hammel gave up just two earned runs over 7 1/3 innings, but he received no offensive support in a 7-0 loss to the Reds on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium. Cincinnati swept the two-game set.

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Hammel gave up seven hits, walked none and struck out three. But the Royals' offense has managed just 11 runs in its past seven games.

"I thought he was in complete control for seven innings," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He really managed his pitch count."

Reds starter Tyler Mahle struck out just one batter through 6 1/3 innings, but the Royals had no serious threats as he permitted three hits and two walks.

"He pitched good," Royals first baseman Hunter Dozier said. "His fastball kind of jumps on you. It plays harder than it shows."

The Reds broke through against Hammel in the seventh, thanks to some iffy defense. Jose Peraza looped a double leading off, and went to third on a groundout.

Video: CIN@KC: Peraza hustles home on fielding error in 7th

With the infield in, Scooter Gennett hit a hard two-hopper at shortstop Alcides Escobar, who tired to play it to his left side. But it eluded him for an error and Peraza scored.

"The ball kind of skipped up on Esky," Yost said. "Hammel made a good pitch, but the ball just skipped on Esky."

A bloop single by Eugenio Suarez moved Gennett to third. Jesse Winker then hit a double-play grounder at Dozier, who took the out at first and then tried to get a tag double play at second. It didn't matter because Dozier's throw hit the runner for an error and it was 2-0.

Video: CIN@KC: Gennett comes home on Winker's RBI groundout

"I made some pitches," Hammel said. "Sometimes in that regard, that's all I can do, is make pitches. I know that guys aren't trying to kick the ball and not trying to misplay it, but at this level, those things affect the outcome. That's the game in a nutshell. Whoever makes less mistakes is usually the team that comes out on top. We made some mistakes tonight, and it cost us."

Adam Duvall's grand slam off Royals reliever Jason Adam in the ninth put the game well out of reach.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
There's a reason Royals left fielder Alex Gordon has five American League Gold Gloves and a Platinum Glove Award. He showed that skillset to the Reds in the sixth inning. First, Gordon grabbed Curt Casali's liner off the left-field fence, pivoted and threw a bullet to second baseman Ramon Torres from the warning track. The throw nailed Casali for Gordon's 87th career assist and fifth this season.

Video: CIN@KC: Gordon makes 2 terrific plays in the 6th

Moments later, Gordon raced in on Billy Hamilton's sinking liner and made a diving catch. Statcast™ rated it a three-star catch with a 57 percent catch probability. Gordon had to cover 43 feet in 3.3 seconds.

"Great. They were just phenomenal plays," Yost said. "The first thing that went through my mind is no wonder he is a gold/platinum player."

HE SAID IT
"This is the second time [Reds designated hitter Joey Votto] hit a changeup off me, which is kind of crazy. [He] split my shin open back in '15. Now he's off [my] bicep. Obviously he asked if I was fine. Stand-up guy." -- Hammel, on the comebacker in the seventh off the bat of Votto

Video: CIN@KC: Hammel and Yost discuss 7-0 loss to Reds

UP NEXT
After an off-day on Thursday, right-hander Jakob Junis (5-6, 4.05 ERA) takes the mound on Friday at 7:15 p.m. CT when the Royals open a three-game set against the World Series champion Astros at Kauffman Stadium. Junis gave up six runs and 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings last Friday against the A's.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Alex Gordon, Jason Hammel