CINCINNATI (AP) – A weird double play stalled the Cincinnati Reds’ offense one run short of the Kansas City Royals.
Lorenzo Cain had a tiebreaking RBI single in the second inning, Ben Zobrist had four hits, and Kansas City benefited from a Cincinnati baserunning gaffe as the Royals beat the Reds 4-3 on Wednesday night to complete a two-game sweep.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie left in the fifth with the 4-3 lead, the bases loaded and one out. Luke Hochevar (1-0) got Jay Bruce to pop up along the first base line. Bruce was out under the Infield Fly Rule, but Jason Bourgeois tried to score when the ball dropped, and Hochevar threw to catcher Drew Butera, who easily tagged out Bourgeois to end the inning.
Bourgeois, who was also picked off in front of back-to-back home runs, reacted to the ball landing on the infield turf.
“Bourgeois was picked off and had the miscommunication on the infield fly,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He knows the rule. He felt obliged to run when the ball landed. The umpire has to wait until he is sure someone is under it to make the call.”
Keyvius Sampson (2-2) gave up the four runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out two in his fourth career start. It was the shortest of his starts.
“He was around the plate but not on the plate,” Price said. “He was in trouble when he was behind in the count. Kansas City is a team with good plate discipline. They don’t expand the strike zone.”
Ryan Madson and Kelvin Herrera each turned in one scoreless relief inning before Wade Davis pitched the ninth for his 10th save.
Zobrist had his eighth career four-hit game as the Royals completed a sweep of the four-game season series with Cincinnati. The Royals have won five straight and the Reds have lost five straight.
Zobrist and Eric Hosmer both had RBI hits in the first inning to extend hitting streaks, Zobrist to six games (13 for 23, .565 average) and Hosmer to 10 (13 for 38, .342).
Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips tied the score with back-to-back solo homers in the bottom of the inning, Votto’s 22nd and Phillips’ ninth. Phillips, who left the game in the seventh inning with inflammation in his right biceps, extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
Phillips was injured diving for a ground ball.
Cain came through with a two-run single in the second to give the Royals a 4-2 lead.
Eugenio Suarez cut the lead to 4-3 in the third with an RBI double to center field.
Guthrie lasted 4 1-3 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs with three walks, four strikeouts and a wild pitch.
The start of the game was delayed for 1 hour, 37 minutes by rain.
Royals: INF Omar Infante was available to play Wednesday after being scratched from Tuesday’s starting lineup with back spasms. Manager Ned Yost said he would try to give Infante one more day off and use him in Boston.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (6-5, 4.03) starts the opener of Kansas City’s four-game series at Boston’s Fenway Park. The Royals are 8-2 in Duffy’s 10 starts since he came off the DL on June 24.
Reds: LHP John Lamb (0-1, 7.50) is scheduled to make his second career start when the Reds open a four-game series against the Diamondbacks on Thursday.
Phillips batted fourth for the 13th time this season but first since April 26 that ended a string of 12 straight. He came into the game hitting .320 but hit his first home run from the cleanup spot off Jeremy Guthrie. Phillips has 200 or more career at-bats in three spots. He has more than 600 at-bats from the 4 hole.
Marlon Byrd grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. It was his 1,500th career appearance.