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'Papo' delivers: Hosmer's walk-off wins it for KC

August 23, 2017

KANSAS CITY -- The August woes continued for Rockies closer Greg Holland, even at his former home.Eric Hosmer (aka "Papo") mashed a three-run, walk-off home run off Holland with two outs in the ninth as the Royals rallied for a pulsating 6-4 win on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium. It was

KANSAS CITY -- The August woes continued for Rockies closer Greg Holland, even at his former home.
Eric Hosmer (aka "Papo") mashed a three-run, walk-off home run off Holland with two outs in the ninth as the Royals rallied for a pulsating 6-4 win on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium. It was Hosmer's eighth career walk-off hit and his first career walk-off homer.
In his last six appearances, Holland has given up 12 runs in five innings, which have included three blown saves and two losses.
Holland walked Alex Gordon to lead off the bottom of the ninth -- Gordon's fifth walk in six games -- and had three other balls hit hard, including Melky Cabrera's single to left with two outs. With a 1-1 count vs. Hosmer, Holland left an 84.5-mph slider over the plate, and Hosmer ended the game, drilling it 398 feet with an exit velocity of 109 mph.
"They don't pay me to get close to getting the job done," Holland said. "I've got to make better pitches, get ahead and execute more quality pitches, which I haven't done the past couple of weeks."
Royals finally cash in, steal win vs. old friend
Gordon was on second base when Hosmer belted the home run.
"It was a missile," Gordon said. "It was loud."
Charlie Blackmon (or "Chuck Nazty") had three hits, including his career-high 30th home run, for the Rockies. Blackmon became the first National League leadoff man to hit 30 or more home runs since Hanley Ramirez hit 32 for the Marlins in 2008. Blackmon hit 29 last season.
The Rockies remained a half-game behind Arizona for the top National League Wild Card spot, but they have lost 11 of their last 15. The Royals moved within five games of the American League Central-leading Indians.
Rockies rookie starter Antonio Senzatela maneuvered through all kinds of traffic through five innings, giving up nine hits and a walk. But he gave up just two runs and left with a 3-2 lead. He hadn't started since Aug. 9, as the Rockies have been controlling his innings.

"They hit me a lot, but I tried to throw quality pitches," said Senzatela, who threw 81 pitches. "They didn't strike out much. But I just focused on throwing some balls down and getting ground balls."
Royals starter Ian Kennedy also navigated through heavy traffic for 4 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and three runs while walking three and striking out six.

Clutch hitting: The Rockies added to their 3-2 lead in the sixth with some clutch two-out hitting. After a walk to Trevor Story, Blackmon engaged in a duel with left-hander Ryan Buchter that lasted 10 pitches. On the 10th pitch, Blackmon served a soft single into left, sending Story to third. The Royals brought in righty specialist Peter Moylan, but DJ LeMahieu sent a 1-1 slider back up the middle for a single and the Rockies went up 4-2.

Big outs: The Royals seemed poised to finally knock Senzatela out of the game in the fifth when Whit Merrifield, who had four hits, singled and then scored on a double into the left-field corner by Lorenzo Cain. But Senzatela came back and got three straight harmless groundouts from Cabrera, Hosmer and Salvador Perez to stop the rally.

"You know, we really hit the ball good tonight," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I thought we didn't have a whole lot to show for it. But that's the character of this team, they keep battling."
Blackmon nearly made up for a key gaffe with a creative play, but the out call on a pickoff at second base to end the top half of the sixth was upheld after a review. With two outs and two runners on with Arenado batting, Moylan threw to second in plenty of time. Blackmon tried a right-left swim move over second baseman Merrifield's tag.

The Rockies loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, with Arenado coming up, only to emerge with one run. The inability to cash in big hits has been as big a problem for the Rockies as their closer's slump. Against Kennedy, Arenado struck out, Gerardo Parra delivered a sacrifice fly and, after Mark Reynolds walked, Carlos Gonzalez popped out.

Wednesday's culprits were many. Arenado delivered in the first, a solo shot off Kennedy for his 29th homer, and Parra has been solid all year. Gonzalez's ability to carry a club hasn't shown up all year. The sixth through eighth spots in the Rockies' order delivered little.

"We're not clicking offensively, especially with runners in scoring position," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "We had a couple opportunities throughout the course of the game to add on and couldn't do it. Hopefully we're getting closer."
Rockies: Rookie right-hander German Marquez (10-5, 4.24 ERA), who has been dependable over the last two months, will start the series finale against the Royals on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. MT. Marquez is 5-1 with a 3.99 ERA and the Rockies are 6-2 in his last eight starts.
Royals: Right-hander Jake Junis (5-2, 4.99 ERA) will take the mound for the series finale with the Rockies on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. CT. His last start at Kauffman Stadium came on Aug. 4 when he held Seattle to one run on four hits over eight innings in a 9-1 win.
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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.