Credit the Royals with creativity in their continuing collapse. Head-shaking creativity, to be sure; stuff sure to serve as stock footage in blooper reels for years to come.
Stuff like Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers at Kauffman Stadium.
The Rangers scored the winning run with two outs in the seventh inning when Royals pitcher Brian Bannister dropped a soft pop-up — and failed to recover in time to prevent Jarrod Saltalamacchia scoring from second base.
Note also that it takes less time to say Jarrod Saltalamacchia a few dozen times than it did for him to score from second base.
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Hard to believe. Even by the Royals’ standards.
The shame of it is Bannister produced his best performance — and only quality start — since June 23, when he posted his last victory by beating Colorado 8-4. He struck out a career-high eight in his 6 2/3 innings.
Hard to get past that dropped pop, though.
Bannister and the Royals still had a 2-1 lead with two outs in the seventh before successive doubles by Chris Davis and Saltalamacchia tied the game. Joaquin Arias then bloop an easy pop to the right of the mound.
Bannister settled under the ball. And dropped it. Saltalamacchia kept running and, by the time Bannister gathered himself, scored without a throw.
The error allowed Texas to complete a three-game sweep at Kauffman Stadium and send the Royals to their 17th loss in 20 games. The Rangers had never previously posted a sweep of more than two games in Kansas City.
Remember, too, that Texas entered the series with 14 losses in its 17 previous games.
But Matt Harrison, who entered the game with a 6.27 ERA, produced the Rangers’ third straight quality start — a first for Texas since early April.
Harrison, 6-3, allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings and, if not for some sloppy defense, would have been working on a shutout when lifted with runners at first and second.
Texas relievers Joaquin Benoit, Jamey Wright and Frank Francisco combined to retire the final seven Royals. Francisco got his first career save.
Bannister lost his eighth straight decision and fell to 7-14.
The Royals scored first for the first time since Aug. 20 at Cleveland.
Mark Teahen worked a leadoff walk in the third inning and went to second on a passed ball. Esteban German fouled off two bunts by lining a drive into right-center. Nelson Cruz nearly made a terrific diving catch, but the ball skittered free.
Teahen held up initially but scored — thanks to an odd pop-fly of a relay throw home by Arias.
The lead last just two pitches into the Texas fourth. Brandon Boggs drove an 88-mph fastball an estimated 411 feet to right for a game-tying homer.
Boggs was a late addition the lineup after Josh Hamilton was scratched because of an abscessed tooth.
The Royals wasted a grand chance to answer after José Guillen opened their fourth with a bloop single and went to third on Billy Butler’s slicing double to right.
It came to nothing.
Miguel Olivo flied out to short right. Ross Gload bounced into a fielder’s choice, where Harrison trapped Guillen in a rundown. Guillen stay in the rundown long enough to allow the runners to reach second and third, but Teahen ended the inning with a grounder to short.
The Royals did regain the lead in the fifth after German’s leadoff single. He went to second on Alberto Callaspo’s one-out grounder before David DeJesus looped a two-out single to left.
Boggs made a perfect one-hop throw to the plate that arrived long before German, but Jarrod Saltlamacchia simply muffed the catch. German scored, and the Royals led 2-1.
DeJesus’ RBI was his 59th and marked a career high — one more than last season. Bannister nursed that lead into the seventh before things fell apart.