KANSAS CITY -- The crazy thing is, Royals reliever Justin Grimm thought, was that he had his best curveball he has had all season.But Grimm hung two curveballs -- one to Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger that had home-run distance but went foul -- and the other that was a
KANSAS CITY -- The crazy thing is, Royals reliever Justin Grimm thought, was that he had his best curveball he has had all season.
But Grimm hung two curveballs -- one to Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger that had home-run distance but went foul -- and the other that was a home run to third baseman Kyle Seager, a two-run shot that was the difference in the Royals' 4-2 loss on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium.
Grimm entered the eighth inning with the score tied and quickly got two outs. Grimm then got ahead of Haniger 0-2 but got a scare when Haniger belted a curveball that would have been gone had it not hooked foul down the left-field line.
• Buchholz eyeing Triple-A rehab assignment
Grimm wound up walking Haniger.
"I think [Grimm] made sure that didn't happen again with Haniger and pitched a little careful after that," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Grimm then threw a 1-1 curveball to Seager, who lofted a fly just over the right-field bullpen fence.
"I really felt like my curveball was really good today," Grimm said. "It was really good. Just two that weren't and both got hit.
"... I feel like I lost it for my teammates -- they battled back. But it's one day. You come back tomorrow and get ready for the Angels. This one is on me."
The Royals fell behind 2-0 in the first and for the second straight start, left-hander Danny Duffy struggled with his command early. Duffy walked three hitters in his previous start in Cleveland in the first inning, and did so again Wednesday.
After that, Duffy cruised, and at one point retired 13 of 14 hitters. He left after 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) while striking out seven.
"After that first inning, I thought it was pretty good," Duffy said. "But you don't get to subtract one inning. I was awful in the first inning. It's just been a lack of control for the first innings the last two starts. No excuse for that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Double play saves a run: The Mariners had a great chance to take the lead in the sixth inning. Duffy gave up two singles sandwiched around a fielder's choice, prompting Yost to bring on right-hander Brad Keller, who gave up a hard-hit single to Guillermo Heredia off the chest of third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert. Daniel Vogelbach then pinch-hit for Taylor Motter and sent a grounder to second baseman Whit Merrifield, who started a 4-6-3 double play to escape the jam.
Orlando tied it: The Royals didn't have many good swings against Mariners starter James Paxton, but they did put runners on first and second in the fourth with none out as Mike Moustakas beat the shift with a slow roller to the left side, and Cuthbert rolled a single between short and third. Paxton struck out the next two hitters but then Paulo Orlando jumped on a 1-0 four-seam fastball and roped a two-run double into the right-field corner, tying the score at 2.
Paxton struck out 10 hitters, tying a career high.
"He was tough," Yost said. "It was just a tough day for us offensively -- 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position."
"It's the best I've felt about a 3-7 start in my life. I just feel like we're going to get on a run offensively and get back a little more to even." -- Yost, on the Royals' 3-7 record
Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-0, 0.75 ERA) will try to continue his hot start as the Royals open a four-game set with the Angels on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. CT at Kauffman Stadium. Kennedy threw six scoreless innings last Saturday in a 1-0 win over Cleveland at Progressive Field.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.