For the first time since 2008, the Kansas City Royals (4-3) won their home opener 3-1 over the Minnesota Twins. Last year’s home opener at Kaufman Stadium was a diasater. Before the foam was even gone from the beers, the Cleveland Indians had 7 runs off Luke Hochevar in the first inning. Although things appeared to start on a similar note on Monday, the game went in a completely different direction.
On the Mound
The game started a little roughly for Ervin Santana (1-1). He allowed a run on four singles in the 1st inning. He was bailed out when Trevor Plouffe singled to left field. Gordon threw a strike to home plate, holding Justin Morneau on third. Catcher Salvador Perez then fired a bullet to Chris Getz at second to nail Ryan Doumit, who had wandered too far from the bag, and the Twins threat in the first was over. Santana didn’t allow another hit until the 5th and only 4 more total over the next 7 innings. The Royals rallied in the bottom of the 8th and Aaron Crow shut the door in the 9th for his first save of the season.
At the Plate
The Royals didn’t provide much offense for most of the game. Lorenzo Cain led of the 8th with a double and Getz bunted him to third. Gordon singled, driving in Cain to tie the ball game. Then, on a hit-and-run, Alcides Escobar doubled down the right field line, scoring Gordon from first. After a wild pitch sent Escobar scampering to third, Billy Butler singled him home to cap the scoring.
This and That
The first six games this season were eerily similar to last season. The Royals started on the road in 2012, going 3-3 with a bad blown save by their closer. They returned to Kaufman and promptly lost 10 straight games at home. Thankfully, Santana and gang did not allow such a fiasco to even start on Monday. The starting rotation has been fantastic thus far. Let’s hope to see it continue!
Kansas City hasn’t committed in error in 2013.
Player of the Game
There were some really good at bats in the 8th, but it was the stellar work of Ervin Santana who kept it close enough for the Royals find their bats eventually. Eight innings of 1-run ball in more than good enough. Here is the season tally of POG winners – no one has more than once: James Shields, Miguel Tejada, Jeremy Guthrie, Eric Hosmer, Luis Mendoza, Billy Butler, and Santana.
Minnesota got 7 terrific innings from Kevin Correia (0-1). Until the 8th, he only gave up 5 hits and no runs before the Royals got to him. Joe Mauer and Chris Parmelee each had 2 hits for the Twins. Minnesota and Kansas City are now tied for second in the division, a half game behind the White Sox.
Jeremy Guthrie, who turned 34 yesterday, will face Mike Pelfrey at 7:10 tonight in the second game if this series. Both are 1-0. Pelfrey did not allow a run in his first outing of the year.
AL Central Notes
Cleveland Indians (3-4): Ubaldo Jimenez got beat up by the Yankees on Monday to the tune of 7 runs in 4.1 innings. Former Royal Mike Aviles homered for the Tribe. Michael Bourn had 2 hits and scored twice.