On a bizarre day at the K, Jose Guillen tripled and Willie Bloomquist homered, rarities for each of them.
But an even more odd circumstance doomed the Royals in an 11-7 loss to Colorado on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.
Zack Grienke struggled. Mightily.
That was the biggest downer on a day the Royals looked to avoid their first losing series since Ned Yost took over as manager on May 13.
But Grienke didn't escape the fourth and surrendered eight runs.
It was a real estate thing: location, location, location.
"A lot of pitches around the thigh, you don't get away with many pitches in that area," Grienke said. "A lot of balls were hit hard, it just piled on."
The tone-setting blast came courtesy of Jason Giambi in the third, a three-run homer over the center field wall.
"Change up, away, but just high enough, too high really," Grienke said. "In the thigh area, just like everything else today."
The Royals trailed 6-0 when shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt booted a potential inning-ending double-play grounder. At the moment it didn't seem to matter. The Rockies were spinning the scoreboard at Grienke's expense. The ugly totals: 3 1/3 innings, nine hits, eight runs, seven earned. Sunday marked his shortest outing since July, 2008.
Who knew the Royals' bats were about to come alive, that they'd finish with 18 hits, a season-best for nine innings?
Down 9-0, the Royals started to get plenty of productive swings with Billy Butler collecting four hits and Mitch Maier and Betancourt three each. Guillen's triple opened a two-run seventh. It was his first of the year, second in two-plus seasons in a Royals' uniform and 24th of his 13-year career.
Bloomquist's solo shot opened the eighth. It was his first of the season and 11th in his eight-year career.
"Kind of backwards today," Butler said. "Usually the way it goes with Zack we're not putting up enough for him to get the win but he's going deep into games."
The Royals, who average 2.9 runs in Grienke's starts, scored a season-high for their defending Cy Young winner.
"It just wasn't Zack's day," Butler said. "We expect him to be perfect, but he's human, too."
The bats were the encouraging, but there could have been even more production.
First, the Royals grounded into five, count 'em, five double plays. That's one fewer than their major-league record set last year at Cleveland but pushes their season total to 53, which matches the most in the majors.
"You hit into five double plays you usually don't win a ballgame," Butler said.
Also, Maier was involved in a couple of base-running decisions that turned out badly. They weren't blunders because he was following the instructions of third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez but costly just the same.
In the fifth, Maier went from second to third on Chris Getz's single to left. The ball rolled past left-fielder Seth Smith but Maier didn't see Rodriguez switching from the stop sign to the head-home wave.
The play proved big because the Royals' fifth-inning output stopped at four. They had two walks and five singles in the frame — chasing Rockies starter Aaron Cook before he had a chance to add to his franchise-leading career victory total. But Bloomquist ended the inning by hitting into a double play.
In the ninth, Maier was thrown out a home trying to score from first on Betancourt's double. That one bothered him more.
"They made a good relay, but I probably should have stopped," Maier said. "We didn't need that run. We needed to keep things going. It kind of killed the momentum a little."