Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Kansas City Royals
news

Royals News

Bailey stays tough on Central, pins down Twins

Right-hander racks up 5 K's to help Royals split 4-game set
@FlannyMLB
June 23, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Homer Bailey has found a new home in the American League Central, in more ways than one. Bailey’s career resurgence marched on in the Royals’ 6-1 victory over the Twins on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium, which allowed Kansas City to split the four-game set.

KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Homer Bailey has found a new home in the American League Central, in more ways than one.

Bailey’s career resurgence marched on in the Royals’ 6-1 victory over the Twins on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium, which allowed Kansas City to split the four-game set.

Bailey gave up just five hits and one run over 5 1/3 innings, while striking out five. Over his last 25 innings, Bailey has posted a 0.72 ERA, which has lowered his season ERA from 6.05 to 4.61.

Box score

Bailey has owned the Central. In seven starts now within the division, Bailey is 4-0 with a 2.26 ERA. He said he had no idea the numbers were that good.

“Cool. Sounds good,” Bailey said, smiling. “If you don’t give up runs, your ERA goes down. That’s all I got [shrugs]. There’s no rhyme or reason, to be honest with you. It’s just played out that way.”

And Bailey punctuated his outing on Sunday by winning a terrific 14-pitch battle with AL All-Star finalist Eddie Rosario by striking him out -- that was Bailey’s final hitter. Rosario had homered against Bailey in the fourth on a 1-2 splitter.

"He just kept making pitches, kept changing speeds,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Bailey against Rosario. “[Rosario] did a great job of fouling balls off, fouling balls, fouling balls off. And we kinda gauge pitcher innings by -- we call it par, really, in my mind -- and par is 15 pitches per inning. Well, that was the inning right there.”

Added Bailey, “[Rosario] was just as determined as I was and I just happened to be the winner on that one. Those at-bats, especially that late, you just have to stay committed to what you’re doing, stay hooked. We were able to win that one. Doesn’t mean it will always go that way.”

The Royals’ offense came to life in the third. A beautiful hit-and-run single to right by Whit Merrifield pushed Billy Hamilton to third. Hamilton then scored on a perfect safety-squeeze bunt by rookie Nicky Lopez.

Alex Gordon followed with an RBI double, and Hunter Dozier then whacked a three-run home run, his 12th.

“They struck him out on sliders the first time up,” Yost said of Dozier. “The next time, they were trying the same ploy. It just didn't work. He got a hold of it for the three-run homer, and then hit another slider for a double. Hunter looks like he's back in good shape."

And Royals reliever Kevin McCarthy got his first career save, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

“I was hoping to get it a little earlier in my career,” McCarthy said. “But I’ll take it.”

The Royals have been playing better baseball lately, having won their first road series of the season earlier in the week and having won five of their last eight. They’ve also played the first-place Twins tough two straight weekends.

"We could've swept the Twins, realistically,” Yost said. “We won the first game [on Thursday]. We had the lead in the second game [on Friday]. Battled back yesterday, and one big hit in the ninth, and we would've won it there after Gore stole second. Of course, then winning today.

"It's a team-wide effort we've got to continue to stay focused on. I feel like we're playing pretty good baseball right now, but I don't feel like we've played stinky baseball all year long. We haven't been bad. We just haven't won games. A pitch here or an at-bat there and we just couldn't get it done, and we ended up losing games."

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