Royals Recap: .500!

Yes, James, we are just as surprised as you are that the Royals are back to .500. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

.500! .500! .500! There’s no stopping us now!

(Maybe.)

By no means was Monday night pretty, but the Royals were able to put together a couple of rallies late to take the first game of the three-game series, 2-1. James Shields was excellent minus one pitch to Carlos Santana, David Lough had two more hits, and Eric Hosmer had a clutch “double” to tie the game in the eighth.

The Royals were nine games under .500 on June 4 and now 13 days later are back to .500. Kansas City has literally saved its season in two weeks. Now where will they be two weeks from now or at the All-Star break? Who knows. But at least the Royals are still relevant at this point of the season, something that wasn’t the case when June began.

On the Mound

It wasn’t the best James Shields start but he deserved far more than a no-decision last night. He had some issues with his control, walking four batters and leaving a pitch out over the plate to Carlos Santana who crushed it for a home run. But one run over six innings when you don’t have your “best stuff” should earn a pitcher a win. Sadly, the Royals offense appears to think differently.

Shields line: 6 ip, 4 h, 1 er, 4 bb, 5 k, 1 hr.

Greg Holland made things interesting in the ninth with a one-out double and a wild pitch to put the tying run on third. But a strikeout and a ground out shut down the treat to give KC the win a Holland his 16th save of the season.  Crow and Chen also were strong out of the ‘pen for the Royals.

The Bullpen: 3 ip, 2 h, 0 er, 2 bb, 3 k, Crow gets the win, Holland the save

At the Plate

Carlos Carrasco entered the game with a 15.26 ERA in two starts for Cleveland, so not unexpectedly the Royals were only able to scrounge one run off of him in 7 1/3 innings. But it is getting to the point where we have to recognize that this is what the Royals offense is and expecting more from it would be insane without a few roster moves.

David Lough did add to more hits to his argument to staying in the big leagues and Eric Hosmer did have the hustle double that scored Chris Getz to tie the game in the ninth. Getz had another hit and was robbed of a few more. He has five hits and two walks in his last 21 plate appearances (June 6-June 17).

This and That

- The Royals have scored two runs or fewer in eight of James Shields’ 15 starts. Of Shields six losses, the Royals scored three runs or fewer in all of them. He has also not had an official decision since May 27, a 6-3 loss to St. Louis.

- David Lough’s two hits made it the eighth time this season he has had a multi-hit game in just 22 starts. Jeff Francoeur has seven multi-hit games in 46 starts. Lough is now batting .278 on the season. By no means is Lough the answer to the Royals right field problems but he is a better player than Frenchy is right now.

- Aaron Crow has allowed just one earned run in eight June appearances. He has struck out four of the last five batters he has faced.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

James Shields was great but he was very good on Monday night, and was by far the best Royal on the field.

The Indians

Carlos Santana hit his 10th home run of the season Monday night just two games removed from hitting his ninth home run of the season. This is (somewhat) meaningful because it took him 21 games (85 plate appearances) to hit his ninth home run. Cleveland is built around their offense and Justin Masterson, so if they want to stay in the AL Central race or a wild card spot they need Santana to be hot. Two home runs in three games for Santana may be a good sign for them.

Up Next

Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for 6:05 central standard time. Ervin Santana (5-5, 2.74) will take the mound for Kansas City against Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4, 4.79). If Kansas City win it will be the first time a Dayton Moore led team has been over .500 after June 1 in his tenure.

AL Central Notes

Detroit Tigers (39-29): Former Missouri Tiger Max Scherzer became the first pitcher since 1997 to start a season 10-0 after a dominating performance against the Baltimore Orioles. Scherzer struck out 10 in six innings and Miguel Cabrera supported him with a two-run homer in the 5-1 win. Detroit leads the AL Central by five games.

Cleveland Indians (34-35): Indians have the second best home record in the division at 20-14.

Minnesota Twins (30-36): Minnesota was off on Monday. They will host the White Sox in a three-game series starting today.

Chicago White Sox (29-38): Chicago used a four-run sixth inning to avoid a four-game sweep against at the hands of the Houston Astros. Dayan Viciedo had a three-run triple in the sixth in the 4-2 win.

Topics: Kansas City Royals

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