It was a key moment in today’s game. The score was tied 2-2 with the Royals batting in the top of the sixth. Jeff Francoeur, who was having a big series, came to the plate and delivered a go-ahead solo homer off Brian Matusz to propel the Royals to a 4-2 win over the Orioles.
Matusz fired to the plate, hoping to get the pitch low and in on Francoeur, but it didn’t end up there. Moments later, it did end up in the left field seats.
“He’s swinging the bat really well right now, and I had him at a 1-2 count and wanted to bury a slider there,” Matusz said. “I flew open and left it right over the middle of the plate. Obviously I’d like to have that pitch back. Those are situations with big hitters where I need to make better pitches.
“You know I made some bad pitches today to their big hitters. That was my goal, start of the game to not let the big guys hurt me, and I did. I made some good pitches when I needed to, but just fell shy today,” he said after his record fell to 4-5 with an ERA of 4.82.
The Orioles’ offense didn’t help Matusz much today, going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranding 10 on the bases.
“We’re going to have those days,” Matusz said. “Obviously we have a strong offense. But I’ve still got to pitch better and make better pitches when I need it.”
So Francoeur, who had a big weekend going 7-for-12 with two homers and three RBIs, came through in a key spot for K.C. again today. He entered this game batting .370 over his previous 13 games.
“He’s just hot right now, swinging the bat really well, has a good eye at the plate. You know he battles with two strikes and fouls a lot of pitches off and makes the pitcher work. He’s just hot and was swinging the bat really well this series,” Matusz said.
Matusz recorded a quality start (six innings or more, three earned runs or less) for the third start in a row and for the fifth time in seven games. His ERA is 3.70 over his past seven starts, but today he took a loss for the first time since May 7 against Texas.