Royals maintain early lead, defeat Dodgers 6-4

Peter Aikan-USA TODAY Sports
The Royals held onto a first inning lead to defeat the Dodgers in the second game of a three game series in Kansas City.

The Dodgers dropped the second game of a three game series on the road against the Royals on Saturday night. After a rain delay postponed the start of the game, the Royals took an early 5-0 lead against the Dodgers via well placed bloop hits, aggressive base running, and timely sacrifice flies. However, LA maintained their composure by refusing to let the game slip out of reach and responded with three runs of their own. The Dodgers’ bullpen also supported the comeback effort by holding the Royals scoreless, until a seventh inning sacrifice fly extended the Kansas City lead 6-3. LA managed to scrape one more run across the plate in the eighth, but ultimately came up short in their attempt to climb back from the early deficit.

Here are three takeaways from the Dodgers’ loss on Saturday night:

Urías makes first start since injury

In a season in which the Dodgers’ rotation has struggled with injury, Los Angeles welcomed back one of their best starting pitchers in recent years — Julio Urías. The 26 year old made his first start on the mound since being sidelined for over a month with a hamstring injury. Urías tossed three innings while allowing five earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts. Despite a five-run first inning, the left hander was able to induce the Royals’ batters into weak contact and threw two scoreless innings after a frustrating start.

Bottom of the first

Maikel Garcia started the Royals’ offensive barrage in the first with a leadoff double that trickled under Betts’s glove which allowed him to reach second base with ease. Bobby Witt Jr. followed Garcia’s double with a bloop single that dropped in no man’s land in right field. With runners on the corners and Salvador Perez at the plate, Witt Jr. took off in an attempt to steal second. Dodgers’ second baseman Miguel Vargas followed suit by racing to cover the base, expecting a throw down from catcher Will Smith to gun down the runner. Rather, with Vargas out of his regular position, Perez managed to drop a fly ball perfectly out of reach to score Kansas City’s first run. Afterwards, a sacrifice fly in shallow center scored the speedy Witt Jr. for a 2-0 lead. Urías then plunked a batter to load the bases before allowing another sacrifice fly to bring home Perez. Kansas City then added two runs on a two RBI single to take a 5-0 lead before Los Angeles escaped the inning.

Strong outing for the bullpen

On a night in which their starting pitcher threw for only three innings, the Dodgers leaned on their bullpen to get through the bulk of Saturday’s game. Phil Bickford took over for Urías in the fourth and kept the Royals from running away with the contest by tossing two scoreless innings. Ryan Brasier followed by throwing two innings of his own with only one unearned run allowed on a sacrifice fly by Witt Jr. Meanwhile, Brusdar Graterol held the Royals scoreless in the eighth to give the Dodgers a legitimate chance to comeback in the ninth. Overall, the Dodgers bullpen managed to put together a solid effort to give Los Angeles an opportunity to rally in a game in which they found themselves down early.

The Dodgers will look to win the series against the Royals tomorrow at 11:10 am PST with Tony Gonsolin starting on the mound.