Home runs continue to haunt Royals pitchers

Kennedy gives up 4 in 4 1/3 innings as Indians hit 5 in rubber game

Home runs continue to haunt Royals pitchers

KANSAS CITY -- Home runs have been a problem for Royals pitchers much of the season. Entering Wednesday, Kansas City was among the American League leaders in home runs given up, while right-hander Chris Young sat at the top of the individual list. By the end of the day, Young had some company.

Right-hander Ian Kennedy gave up four homers in 4 1/3 innings as the Royals dropped an 11-4 decision to the Indians in the rubber game. On the fourth blast, which came off the bat of Mike Napoli, Kennedy tied Young with 26 home runs given up this year.

"Fastball command wasn't that good today," Kennedy said. "Nothing was really that great."

It was a rough outing for Kennedy, who became the first pitcher in Royals history to allow seven runs while striking out eight in 4 1/3 innings (or fewer), but manager Ned Yost said he didn't think all the home runs were necessarily Kennedy's fault.

"It was crazy. He gave up four home runs, the first three were actually pretty good pitches," Yost said. "[The] long ball got us today."

Kennedy said that his command with all of his pitches wasn't great and the count really dictated what happened in most of the at-bats, adding that sometimes a pitcher can get away with little mistakes. But that wasn't the case on Wednesday.

"It was kind of a weird game. I was falling behind on guys, and they made me pay for it," Kennedy said. "But every time I got ahead, I got outs ... I don't think I've ever pitched that bad and gotten as many strikeouts in a game before."

Kennedy exited in the fifth -- his shortest outing since June 21. He tied a career high with the four home runs in a single outing, while pitching in a home loss for the first time since April 20.

Having given up a home run in nine straight starts, Kennedy didn't really have an answer as to why the long ball has hurt him and the Royals so much this year. He cited the weather and how there have just been more home runs in general this year, but he also shouldered some of the blame for the outing.

""The ball was flying a little bit, but homers are homers," Kennedy said. "We've kind of put ourselves in a hole ... We're just trying to keep up with [the Indians]."

Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.