Why Bobby Witt Jr., after 2 home runs, took blame for Royals loss: ‘I made a mistake’

For most of Tuesday’s game, the Kansas City Royals appeared to be on the verge of a statement victory against the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians.

A victory that would signify — or further cement — these aren’t the same old Royals.

Instead, a Royals team that has been snakebitten of late appeared in the seventh inning. Kansas City lost 8-5 at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The Royals have now dropped seven of nine.

Leading 5-0 at one point, the Royals slowly allowed the Guardians to mount a comeback. In the bottom of the seventh, the score was tied at 5-all with the bases loaded and two outs. Kansas City had already surrendered two runs to Cleveland in the inning.

The Guardians’ David Fry hit a chopper to KC shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., who ran toward second but wasn’t able to beat the runner. He then attempted to throw to first but missed the target. Cleveland scored the game-winning runs.

“I made a mistake that cost us the game,” Witt said. “I should have thrown the ball to first and made the play.”

Royals manager Matt Quatraro had Witt’s back.

“A lot will be made of Bobby’s play there, but we’re not in that spot without Bobby,” he said. “He’s got three hits, two homers and four RBIs. I mean, he’s a great player and that play just didn’t go our way.”

In the ninth inning, KC left Makiel Garcia stranded on second base as Witt struck out to end the game.

The Royals fell to 36-26.

Despite the loss, Quatraro remained optimistic.

“These guys will be ready to go tomorrow,” he said. “You are going to lose games like this and win games like this. We just came back on somebody and did it to them. You got to come back out and do it tomorrow.”

Take a look back at Tuesday’s action...

Royals, Guardians cashed in with the long ball

Tuesday’s scoring started in the third inning.

KC’s Hunter Renfroe got the Royals on the board first with a solo home run. Three batters later, the red-hot Witt hit a two-run home run ... and then another two-run homer the next inning.

The Guardians answered with three runs in the bottom of the 4th.

Royals starting pitcher Seth Lugo expertly navigated out of a jam in the fifth by striking out José Ramírez, leaving two players stranded on base.

He wasn’t so lucky in the seventh inning. Tyler Freeman hit a two-run homer off Lugo to tie the score.

Lugo pitched six innings, allowing five earned runs with five strikeouts. He surrendered five hits and one walk.

“I felt like I made some pretty good pitches,” Lugo said.” Chalk it up to tough luck. I feel like I controlled pitches well and mixed pitches well — just didn’t get the results today.”

Cleveland’s Triston McKenzie pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs with seven strikeouts. He gave up nine hits and walked two.

Bobby Witt Jr. stays hot at the plate

Man, what a season it’s been for Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.

On Tuesday, he went 3 for 5 with the two home runs. It was Witt’s third multi-homer game of the season and fifth of his career.

Witt’s second home run was 454 feet, which was the second-longest tracked home run of his career, behind a 468-foot blast earlier this year.

Up next: The Royals continue their three-game series against the Guardians at 5:40 p.m. Central on Wednesday. Brady Singer will face off against Cleveland’s Nick Sandlin.