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Hammel stays on solid run in 8th quality start

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

Royals right-hander Jason Hammel was likely one pitch away from turning a good outing into a very good one.

Hammel was cruising along with three scoreless innings when, with two outs and a runner on first in the fourth inning, Hammel tried to sneak a slider past Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda. But Maeda rolled a grounder between short and third for a single, extending the inning, and moments later, the Dodgers scored two runs to take the lead for good on their way to a 4-1 victory Friday night.

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Royals right-hander Jason Hammel was likely one pitch away from turning a good outing into a very good one.

Hammel was cruising along with three scoreless innings when, with two outs and a runner on first in the fourth inning, Hammel tried to sneak a slider past Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda. But Maeda rolled a grounder between short and third for a single, extending the inning, and moments later, the Dodgers scored two runs to take the lead for good on their way to a 4-1 victory Friday night.

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After Maeda's single, Logan Forsythe and Corey Seager delivered run-scoring singles and that's all the Dodgers needed.

"I was just trying to get ahead in the count," Hammel said, "and [Maeda] just slid one between Esky [Alcides Escobar] and Moose [Mike Moustakas]. And after that, they got some stuff through the four hole. But after that, it wasn't much."

Hammel walked three but he struck out seven through six innings, giving up eight hits and three runs. There were several pitches that Hammel thought were strikes at the letters that were called balls.

"There wasn't much of a high strike zone," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "…. [Hammel] did a good job of keeping us in the game."

Hammel's only other mistake came in the sixth after he got ahead of Yasiel Puig, 1-2. Hammel then delivered a 2-2 slider that was down and below Puig's knees. But Puig went down and got it, drilling it out to left field for his 16th home run.

Hammel had thrown a fastball at the letters on 1-2 but he didn't get the call.

"That's why I was pretty upset," Hammel said. "I thought the 1-2 heater was a strike. I went back to look at it and it was close."

Hammel was coming off a terrific June in which he posted a 2.51 ERA in five starts. Friday was his eighth quality start of the season.

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

Kansas City Royals, Jason Hammel