Richmond and Toronto Blue Jays Lose to Kansas City Royals

KP Wee@kpwee1Senior Writer IJune 6, 2009

CLEVELAND - APRIL 10:  Scott Richmond #48 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Cleveland Indians in the second inning April 10, 2009 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

No, it wasn't the seventh game of the 1985 ALCS, but the results were the same.

The Kansas City Royals, thanks to a three-run triple, turned the tide Saturday afternoon, pulling out a 6-2 win at Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays had staked Scott Richmond to a 2-0 lead on Raul Chavez's two-run homer—his first dinger of the year—in the third inning.

However, after looking good for the first few innings, Richmond ran into trouble in the fifth, when the Royals scored five runs.

Mark Teahen hit a two-run home run off Richmond, before the right-hander allowed a double and walk, as the Royals threatened to take the lead with two outs.

Richmond ran the count to 3-0 on David DeJesus and then walked him two pitches later, loading the bases for Willie Bloomquist.

Why didn't manager Cito Gaston pull Richmond right there? Yes, he'd pitched four scoreless innings leading to the fifth. But he'd also given up two runs in the fifth and had loaded the bases, having walked the last two batters in a row.

Instead, Gaston left his starter in the game, and Bloomquist—who was hitting well against the Blue Jays, as color commentator Rance Mulliniks had said in the pre-game—delivered a drive to deep center to clear the bases.

Kansas City 5, Toronto 2.

Then, Gaston came out to take the ball from Richmond, one batter too late. Reliever Shawn Camp, who replaced Richmond, went on to pitch 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

This was an absolutely winnable game for the Blue Jays. Had Cito removed the starter one or two batters earlier, who knows, the game might have been different.

Still down by three in the seventh, Chavez came up, with two on and two out. But the catcher—not a long-ball threat by any means—grounded out to third to end the inning.

The Royals added a run in the eighth, and won it 6-2.

Alex Rios left two more runners on base, and went 0-for-3 with a walk. This after that disastrous 0-for-5, five-strikeout showing on Thursday afternoon.

The 3-4-5 hitters—Rios, Vernon Wells, and Adam Lind—combined to go 0-for-10.

The walk that Rios got came in the ninth inning, when he, Wells, and Lind were up, with the Jays down by four runs.

However, Wells promptly hit into a double play, and Lind ended the contest with a fly to right.

With the first-place Yankees also losing on Saturday afternoon, a victory over the Royals—who had lost eight straight—would have helped in the standings.

But chalk up yet another loss, in a very winnable game.

The good news is ace Roy Halladay (9-1, 2.77) will be back on the mound Sunday afternoon, as the Jays look to win the series.

* * * * *

And it's about time the experiment with Richmond in the rotation ended.

Yes, he was 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA in his first five starts and was the AL Rookie of the Month in April.

But in three of his last five starts, including Saturday afternoon, he has allowed at least five runs.

The Blue Jays lost four of those five outings.

Richmond did well coming out of the bullpen on May 31 against the Red Sox in an 8-2 loss—he pitched two shutout innings in relief of Ricky Romero—when his turn in the rotation was skipped because the Jays had two off-days in the last couple weeks.

So, why not put Richmond in the bullpen?

He could probably give the Jays an inning or two, before closer Scott Downs gets the ball.


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