SAN DIEGO -- Ten-strikeout pitching by Yordano Ventura and a clutch home run by Eric Hosmer gave the Royals some fine moments on Monday night. But not a victory.
No, the San Diego Padres came from behind twice and snatched a walk-off, 6-5 Interleague victory in the 12th inning for what remained of 14,089 fans at Petco Park. The marathon lasted three minutes shy of four hours.
The loss was the fifth straight for the Royals and was especially difficult to take because they twice held the lead in the late going. Not only that, but the Royals have lost all seven games they've ever played at Petco.
"We had plenty of opportunities to put it away and that's just the way things are going right now. It's definitely one of the tougher losses of the season," Hosmer said.
The Royals had gone ahead, 5-4, in the top of the 12th. Salvador Perez doubled to right-center and Mike Moustakas singled him home against reliever Tim Stauffer for a short-lived lead.
Chris Denorfia opened the Padres' 12th with a single, prompting a pitching change from Louis Coleman to Tim Collins. Alexei Amarista sacrificed Denorfia to second base and Yonder Alonso blooped a double that diving left fielder Alex Gordon couldn't catch.
"Broken bat, Gordo made a good effort on it," Collins said. "That's baseball, I guess, he's not going to make every play out there. He came close to it and, obviously, if that's caught it's a different story, but he made a great effort and you can't expect him to get to everything."
On an 0-2 count, Will Venable belted a long drive into deep right field to score both runners and end the game. It went as a two-run single.
"It was a fastball up. It's where we wanted to go with it," Collins said. "I threw it where I wanted to. He just put a good swing on it."
There was considerable drama earlier as well.
Jedd Gyorko connected off Royals closer Greg Holland for a booming home run with one out in the ninth to tie it at 4-4 and send the game into extra innings. It was Holland's first blown save after seven successful conversions.
"It was a fastball, it leaked back over the middle of the plate," Holland said.
And in the seventh, Hosmer connected off Padres right-handed reliever Nick Vincent on a full count to pull the Royals into a 4-3 lead. It was his first home run of the season and gave him three RBIs and three hits in the game.
"It was huge," manager Ned Yost said. "I was sitting there thinking this was the perfect time for Hoz to hit his first home run and he did."
Ventura pitched six innings, giving up just five hits with no walks and a career-high 10 strikeouts. However, in the sixth Yasmani Grandal's three-run homer created a 3-3 tie. That broke Ventura's streak of scoreless innings at 18 and he was taken out after the inning ended.
Ventura's fastball was peaking at 99 mph and he felt his curveball was a big pitch for him -- except for the one that Grandal smacked.
"I was just trying to get it down in the dirt like I had all night and it just stayed up, and he was able to hit it," Ventura said with help from teammate/translator Jeremy Guthrie.
Grandal sent the 1-2 pitch soaring 415 feet over the right-field wall.
"I had a pretty good clue what was coming," Grandal said. "He has a live fastball. He has a bright future. He's a rookie and tonight he made a mistake. He'll be better."
So Ventura is doing just fine as a pitcher. But how about Ventura as a hitter?
Ventura struck out in his first big league at-bat against left-hander Eric Stults but by his second time up, he seemed to get the hang of it. When the count got to 3-1, Stults came in with an 85-mph fastball which Ventura lined into left field for a single.
"When I was young, I used to swing the bat all the time so I was very confident I could get up there and hit the ball and, lucky for me, it ended up being a base hit. I was very excited," Ventura said.
Ventura thus became the 47th pitcher in Royals history to record a hit and just the 26th since the advent of Interleague Play. He led off the inning with his hit and, as it turned out, started a rally.
Nori Aoki singled to right and when Omar Infante's long drive was caught by Seth Smith near the left-field wall, it was Ventura being the daring baserunner. Tagging at second, he dashed to third base and Aoki followed his lead and beat Smith's throw to second. Hosmer singled to center field and both runners scored for a 3-0 lead.
Ventura also showed he could bunt with a successful sacrifice in the sixth.
If nothing else, the Royals did roll out 16 hits including four by Lorenzo Cain, just back in the lineup from the disabled list. Cain had three singles and a double in five at-bats. Perez joined Hosmer with three hits.
Also almost forgotten in the bitter defeat were the perfect seventh and eighth innings of relief thrown, respectively, by Aaron Crow and Wade Davis.
"Guys are making pitches, guys are getting timely hits. Things just aren't going our way right now," Hosmer said. "We've got to stick with it and we're confident things are going to change."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.