Inability to field ground ball haunts Soria

Royals reliever allows deciding runs to score on Martinez's infield single in 7th

Inability to field ground ball haunts Soria

DETROIT -- Royals reliever Joakim Soria made the pitches he wanted to make, got a huge strikeout of Miguel Cabrera, got the ground ball he wanted from Victor Martinez and still allowed the deciding runs in a 4-2 loss to the Tigers on Friday night at Comerica Park.

And Soria took the loss on what he called the simplest of plays -- a bases-loaded comebacker from Martinez in the seventh inning that deflected off his glove and went for an infield hit that plated two runs.

"First of all, we lost the game on that play," Soria said. "Second of all, I had the opportunity to shut that inning down, and to not be able to do it, it's probably harder than a hit in the gap. I'd take a hit in the gap more than that type of thing. It's tough."

V-Mart's go-ahead two-run single

Soria replaced Luke Hochevar in a 2-2 game with runners on first and second. Soria walked the first hitter he faced and then fell behind 3-0 on Cabrera.

But Soria came back and got Cabrera swinging. Soria got ahead of Martinez 0-2 before the one-hopper nicked off his glove and bounced toward the infield dirt between first and second. But second baseman Whit Merrifield was in a deep shift toward the line and couldn't make a play.

"He struck out one of the best hitters in the game," Royals manager Ned Yost said, shaking his head, "and then Victor Martinez hit that little dribbler right off his glove."

Afterward, Soria was clearly upset that the game slipped away in such fashion.

"I executed good pitches to him," he said, "and I ended up having what I wanted, which is a grounder, but I couldn't get it.

"It was one of those comebackers that seems faster than they actually are. And I got caught in the middle. Probably, I'm going to [field] that ground ball like 95 percent [of the time]. There's no excuse for that. Obviously, the deception when you throw a ball and you think the ball is coming at you a little bit harder ... your body reacts in ways you can't explain.

"But in a normal situation, I probably catch that ground ball easy."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.