Hammel laments pitch to Lindor in pivotal 6th

Right-hander yields big two-run double in loss to Indians

Hammel laments pitch to Lindor in pivotal 6th

CLEVELAND -- Right-hander Jason Hammel will be haunted by one pitch in Saturday's 8-4 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field.

Hammel had grinded through his start and had kept the Royals within, 3-2, with two out in the sixth. Red-hot Francisco Lindor came up with runners at the corners.

The plan of attack was to go slider in and then fastball in. But with the count 0-1, Hammel let a fastball drift back over the plate and Lindor blasted it off the left-field wall for a two-run double.

Lindor's two-run double

"The pitch that is going to bother me is that pitch to Lindor," Hammel said. "It was the same pitch he hit two nights ago. It's got to be frustrating for our hitters to continually play from behind.

"[Catcher Drew Butera] had come out to talk to me and I thought it would be a good pitch because we'd been down and away all day. But [Lindor is] an impressive hitter -- first pitch he fouls off a slider and then he hits a high heater. You have to tip your cap to him, but it's a big mistake on my part. That's the ballgame there."

When the ball left Hammel's hand, he knew he was going to miss his spot.

"Most of the time you see misses like that, a hitter will swing through it," Hammel said. "Not with him, though."

The Royals actually were content to pitch around Lindor and face Austin Jackson perhaps with the bases loaded.

"That was the plan," Hammel said. "It just didn't work out."

Hammel finished the day going six innings and giving up 11 hits and six earned runs. As ugly as the final line suggests, it was still an improvement from last Monday when he didn't last four innings against the White Sox.

"For the most part, it was better," Hammel said. "But way too much traffic still. I still have to get ahead in the count. I'm making the hitter's job way too easy. It was a little better this time out but not much."

It didn't help that Hammel ran into the hottest team in baseball. The Indians have won 23 of 24.

"There's a good reason why they're about to wrap up [the American League Central title]," Hammel said. "They're a good team. You have to play better to beat them."

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.