Royals big offensive night snaps Cubs winning streak at 6
The winning streak was eventually going to end.
And the streak was snapped on “one of those days.”
The Royals collected 18 team hits, forcing the streaking Tyler Chatwood out of the game after 2.1 innings en route to a 13-2 win over the Cubs in Kansas City.
“Tyler’s no stranger to being out there and understands there’s gonna be some bad days mixed in,” David Ross said. “Coming into this game, this guy was one of our best pitchers we’ve had. This guy was dealing. Like I said, you’re gonna have some nights that things just don’t go your way and they took advantage of the mistakes he made and that’s just baseball.”
Chatwood started off the game strong, striking out Whit Merrifield on 3 pitches. The Royals got to him after that. Jorge Soler, Salvador Pérez and Ryan O’Hearn hit consecutive singles to give the Royals a 1-0 lead early on.
It set the tempo for the Royals’ offense. They would go on to score 2 runs in the 2nd and 6 runs, 5 off Chatwood, in the 3rd.
They collected 11 hits off Chatwood who had been stellar heading into the game, allowing just 1 run and 6 hits in just 12.2 innings.
“ I made good pitches, they hit em; I made bad pitches, they hit em,” Chatwood said. “I think my stuff was all still there, maybe not as sharp as I wanted to be with the sinker, but I still feel good. I feel like I was attacking, kind of execute a game plan and I gave up hits on good pitches and bad pitches.”
David Ross used the blowout to provide some at-bats and innings to some of his other bench players and rest his starters. Ross also turned to his bullpen to get some work in, with Ryan Tepera pitching 1.1 innings of scoreless ball and striking out 2.
“That was a good outing by Ryan,” Ross said. “He’s been pitching well for us and that was a huge outing for him. It was efficient.”
Dan Winkler got some work in, too, allowing 1 run on a Jorge Soler home run in one inning of work.
“Wink hadn’t thrown in three days, getting those guys [work],” Ross said. “Other than that one pitch to Soler, that kinda middle breaking ball, [Winkler] threw well, too.”
Ross brought in Craig Kimbrel for the bottom of the 8th. Kimbrel showed some flashes, but allowed a pair of hits, a walk and a run in an inning of work.
“We talked when it kinda got out of hand and he wanted some work,” Ross said. “I’m glad he wanted to go out there and do that. You need to go out there in that competition to work through some things and I think that was the positive.”
The offense was able to string together some hits, scoring a pair of runs on back-to-back RBI-singles from Victor Caratini and Nico Hoerner in the 9th inning.
The Cubs continue their road trip on Friday night in St. Louis against the Cardinals. Coverage begins on Marquee Sports Network at 6 p.m.
Pitcher has at-bat
Ross had gotten Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Báez and Willson Contreras off their feet to get some rest in anticipation of their series against the Cardinals.
He knew he wanted to get Jason Heyward off the field, too, when he saw he would get a plate appearance in the 9th. Given the nature of the game, he knew he wanted to turn to one of his pitchers, which put him in a bit of a conundrum.
“Kinda spinning over that if we wanted to give it to a bullpen guy or Alec [Mills],” Ross said.
Mills got the nod and went up to the plate with two on and one out and one simple instruction.
“I asked him not to swing,” Ross said. “Every part of my being knows that’s probably the wrong thing to do, is take the competitiveness out of a player, but he’s been pitching so well for us, I don’t want anything dumb to happen in that type of game.”
Mills followed his direction, striking out on four pitches without swinging. Mills became the first pitcher to hit for the Cubs in 2020.