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Montgomery shows some rust in short KC debut

Lefty labors in tough 4-run 3rd in series opener against Indians
@FlannyMLB
July 19, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Left-hander Mike Montgomery's debut with the Royals didn’t go exactly as he hoped. Montgomery, acquired on Monday from the Cubs for Martin Maldonado, worked on a limited pitch count of 45, which he hit exactly through two-plus innings of work, as the Royals build his arm strength up

CLEVELAND -- Left-hander Mike Montgomery's debut with the Royals didn’t go exactly as he hoped.

Montgomery, acquired on Monday from the Cubs for Martin Maldonado, worked on a limited pitch count of 45, which he hit exactly through two-plus innings of work, as the Royals build his arm strength up for the rotation.

But Montgomery was hit hard in a 10-5 loss to the Indians on Friday night at Progressive Field. The loss snapped Kansas City’s’ four-game winning streak.

Box score

“I think he did all right,” manager Ned Yost said. “He looked a little rusty. He made some really good pitches and then he made a couple of pitches that caught too much of the plate.”

Montgomery gave up six hits and five runs. His struggles came in the third, and mostly with his curve, which he threw 15 times.

Indians right fielder Tyler Naquin pounded a two-run homer off Montgomery that banged off the right-field foul pole. Then, Francisco Lindor and Oscar Mercado each pounded curves for doubles, and Montgomery’s night was done.

"I was trying to get them to chase the curve,” Montgomery said. “I had the count in my advantage. I just left them over the middle and they didn't miss them. That happens. That's baseball. But it's fun to be back out there and competing, and starting games. I'm just looking forward to the next one.

"It's all about results. I think that's what this game is about. If you don't get them, you figure out what you've got to do to adjust and move on."

Montgomery, who hadn’t pitched since July 2, said there was a little bit of rust and fatigue on Friday night.

“I felt good early on,” Montgomery said. “I think there was a lot of good to take away from those first two innings. I felt sharp. I felt strong. Third inning, they took advantage of some two-strike mistakes. I maybe fatigued a little bit. Credit to them. They've got a good offense.

"I could feel my legs not being the same and [that’s because] you haven't pitched in a while. You really have to make some adjustments when your legs aren't under you.”

It was certainly less glamorous than Montgomery’s famous outing here in 2016 -- that’s when he recorded the final out of the World Series, ending the Cubs’ 108-season championship drought.

"I was walking out there today,” Montgomery said, “and you definitely never forget those memories. But you just kinda put them in the back of the mind because you've got a job to do. You've got to go out there and compete. I think those memories will be gone now. It's just on to the next day, and get back to work ... it’s been an interesting couple of weeks for me.”

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