The inning was over, the home run had fallen and still Jeremy Guthrie’s discontent had yet to subside. For his final act on Thursday, as he wore a 7-3 loss for the Royals to Toronto, Guthrie chose a unique outlet for his frustration.
After snaring a line drive to end the sixth inning, he fired the ball into the third deck of Kauffman Stadium. The baseball rattled against the empty seats.
The gesture was humorous, and, for Guthrie, perhaps necessary. He had yielded a solo shot to Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus two batters earlier. Guthrie gave up eight hits, two of them homers, and Rasmus’ drive proved decisive.
The Royals (14-13) emerged from this three-game set with their second consecutive series victory, but lost out on a chance for a sweep. Toronto starter Mark Buehrle prevented his hosts from reaching their magical number of four runs.
Instead, the team watched rookie reliever Michael Mariot flop in the eighth inning. It was his second inning of work, with manager Ned Yost looking to protect his bullpen heading into a series against Detroit this weekend. The strategy backfired.
Mariot allowed the first four batters to reach. Yost finally pulled him after he issued a bases-loaded walk. Called in to clean up the disaster, right-hander Louis Coleman promptly watched a two-run double scream into right.
It was an unfortunate ending to a game that looked promising at the start. The Royals’ offense showed signs of life before succumbing to Buehrle’s command and movement.
The teams traded runs in the first two innings. Guthrie surrendered a one-out single to former teammate Chris Getz. From there, the Blue Jays ignited their running game. Getz stole second base. After a walk to Jose Bautista, they executed a double steal. Getz scored on a groundout soon after.
Bautista gave a run back in the second. He overran a single by Alcides Escobar, which allowed Justin Maxwell to race home from first.
The Royals sparked a rally in the third, only to see it snuffed out on the bases. Omar Infante led off with a walk. Eric Hosmer blistered a double into the right field corner. When Billy Butler ripped a single through the left side of the infield, they had the lead.
But they wanted more. Third-base coach Dale Sveum signaled for Hosmer to round third. Rookie outfielder Anthony Gose threw him out at the plate.
Toronto opted for a more efficient method of scoring to reclaim the lead in the fourth. Juan Francisco unloaded on a 93-mph fastball. His two-run blast cleared the Blue Jays’ bullpen in right field.
A counterpunch occurred in the fifth. Butler smoked an RBI double into the left-center gap. The hit gave him just his sixth multihit game of the season.
With two outs in the sixth, Guthrie appeared capable of holding the deadlock. He popped a pair of strikes into the zone against Rasmus. At 1-2, he opted for a slider. The pitch dipped at Rasmus’ knees, but still came over the plate.
The resulting parabola again arced over the Toronto bullpen. Guthrie stood a few steps away from the mound as it fell. He would save his anger for later.