Troublesome fourth inning trips up Royals

Escobar misplays double-play ball, six runs score in the frame

Troublesome fourth inning trips up Royals

KANSAS CITY -- It's a play that Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar makes almost every single time.

With the bases loaded and none out in a tie game in the fourth, the Cardinals' Kolten Wong sent a three-hopper toward Escobar, and the Royals were fully expecting a 6-4-3 double play. Instead, Escobar booted it, everyone was safe, and a run scored.

Within minutes, the Cardinals added five runs in the inning and essentially put the game away. The Cards won Monday, 11-3.

"It's a play I can make," Escobar said. "I didn't really get my feet set and I tried to stretch for it. I didn't get it."

What really made the error sting was that Royals starter Ian Kennedy struck out the next hitter, which could have been the third out, meaning the Royals would have escaped the mess trailing only 2-1.

"He's so good over there," Kennedy said. "You think it's a double play and it's only going to take one more out to get out of it. You try to pick him up the best you can. He doesn't make those errors."

Kennedy shoulders some blame as well. He walked two hitters, including the No. 9 hitter, Greg Garcia, to force in another run before a throwing error by catcher Drew Butera allowed yet another run to score. The inning was capped by Matt Carpenter's three-run homer.

Cardinals' six-run 4th

"The whole time was really high-intensity pitches," Kennedy said. "First two guys got on, then the walk. The whole time I just kept falling behind guys."

Royals manager Ned Yost applauded the Cardinals' offensive approach.

"He was just missing off the corner," Yost said. "And they wouldn't bite."

The Royals also were lamenting a second straight day of shaky defense. In an 8-7 loss to the Mariners on Sunday, a passed ball on a third strike/third out and a botched rundown play allowed four Mariners runs.

It's an unusual stretch for one of the best defensive teams in baseball. Yost said all teams go through defensive lapses.

"I mean, they do," Yost said. "There's no way around it. We do have a tremendous defensive team. It's a little unexpected when we have those errors."

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.