Whew! That one was close. The Kansas City Royal bullpen almost blew a 9th inning lead for the second straight day but held on for a 9-8 victory on against the Philadelphia Phillies (2-4) on Sunday. The win gave the Royals a 3-3 road trip to open the season.
On the Mound
James Shields started off struggling. He allowed 4 first inning runs on 5 hits before settling in to throw 5 scoreless frames. He allowed 5 more hits after the first and he struck 8 on the day.. He has yet to allow a walk. After two perfect innings from Tim Collins, J.C. Gutierrez was called on to mop up in the 9th with the Royals up 9-4. After surrendering 3 runs in a third of an inning, Greg Holland came in to close the game out. He allowed a run on 2 hits in his third of an inning, clearly worn out from the night before. Kelvin Herrera gave up one hit before securing the game. Holland has got to get himself settled if he wants to keep the closer’s job.
At the Plate
Billy Butler only had 2 hits and 1 RBI in the previous 5 games. Sunday, he went 2-4 with a walk but more importantly, he had a grand slam and 7 total RBI on the day, tying a team record. Butler received plenty of help from Alex Gordon who went 3-4 with a walk, 3 runs, and he drove in one. Another positive sign was the fact Alcides Escobar walked twice on Sunday. Chris Getz added a couple of hits on the day. In total, the Royals had 13 hits and 7 walks in the ball game.
This and That
It was Billy Butler’s first career grand slam.
The Royals are errorless thus far in 2013.
Player of the Game
Philadelpia fans have to be thrilled at the scrappiness and never give up attitude their team displayed the last 2 games but there has to be concern about the starting pitching. The Royals didn’t have to face Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, so it wasn’t totally indicative of their rotation, but is certainly a concern for the Phillies.
AL Central Notes
Minnesota Twins (4-2): The Twins only mustered 4 hits against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday but translated those, along with 4 walks, into 4 runs and a victory. Justin Morneau had 2 RBI. The Twins stand at the top of the division with the White Sox.
Detroit Tigers (3-3): It wasn’t a good day for the pitching staff. Ace Justin Verlander only gave up 3 runs in over 7 innings to the Yankees on Sunday but his bullpen got beat up for 4 runs in less than 2 innings. The offense was no help. They couldn’t push a single run across the plate.
Cleveland Indians (3-3): After being shut out for two consecutive games by the Tampa Bay Rays, the Indians returned the favor by holding the Rays scoreless Sunday. Carlos Santana went 5-5 with a home run, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored. Mark Reynolds was 3-4 with 2 homers, 4 RBI, and 3 runs. Justin Masterson threw 7 shut out innings.