It took a while Thursday for the Kansas City Royals (40-42) offense to roust itself from a deep slumber, but when that offense woke up, it was spectacular. Kansas City scored 10 runs in the last 3 innings to earn a 10-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians (45-40).
On the Mound
James Shields struggled with his control and pitch count for the second straight game. He only walked 2 in his 5.1 innings but his command in the strike zone was not sharp. He gave up 5 runs on 9 hits and only struck out 3. Shields, maybe more than any other Royals hurler, looks like he could use the extended All-Star break that is coming up soon.
J.C. Gutierrez, who had been pitching relatively well, surrendered 2 runs on 2 hits and a walk in just two thirds of an inning. Aaron Crow, Luke Hochevar, and Greg Holland finished off the contest with a scoreless inning a piece.
At the Plate
Not much was going on with the Royals bats the first 5 innings but in the 6th, the Royals were patient at the plate, and took advantage of some free passes. Hosmer led off with a walk, followed by Billy Butler taking 4 balls, then Mike Moustakas reached on a error by pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. Lorenzo stepped the plate with the Royals trailing 5-0 and just planted one over the fence for a grand slam. George Kottaras followed suit by jacking one out out to tie the game at five.
In the 7th, trailing 7-5, Alicides Escobar walked and Eric Hosmer drove him in with a round tripper of his own, and the game was tied once more.
Finally, in the 8th, Kottaras walked, Johnny Giavotella was plunked, and with Jarrod Dyson at the dish, trying to bunt his teammates over, Indian catcher Carlos Santana let a ball skittered past him, advancing the base runners. The Indians decided to walk Dyson to set up a force. Salvador Perez pinch hit for David Lough and came through with a bases loaded double. Game over!
This and That
In a very un-Royal-like manner, Kansas City scored 10 runs on just 6 hits. Three of those hits were home runs, including the grand slam, and another was a 3-run double. Those 4 hits drove in all ten runs. The key to the Royals day was the fact they walked 8 times. By walking, they created base runners. With base runners in place, the hits the Royals did get counted for so much more. Simple baseball math – the more base runners a team can get, by whatever means, the more chances a team has to score.
Cain’s grand slam came in the 6th, better known as the “Sonic Slam Inning.” Some lucky person won $25,000 because Cain’s bases-juiced long ball came in that inning. It seems like it has been a long time since Sonic had to pay out on that particular promotion.
KC Kingdom Player of the Game
Again, it is nice to have options. Salvador Perez’s game winning, pinch hit, 3-run double in the eighth was obviously huge, as was the game tying home runs by Kottaras and Hosmer. The key hit on the day, though, in my most humble opinion, was Cain’s big fly. It immediately brought the Royals from 5 runs back, and from looking stale at the plate, to right back into the game. It set off a huge spark in the dugout that carried over onto the field with their play. Well done, Lorenzo!
- James Shields – 7
- Alex Gordon – 11
- Wade Davis – 4
- Lorenzo Cain – 6
- Luis Mendoza – 3
- Billy Butler – 6
- Ervin Santana – 6
- Miguel Tejada - 3
- Jeremy Guthrie -3
- Eric Hosmer - 8
- Chris Getz
- Mike Moustakas - 3
- Aaron Crow
- Jarrod Dyson - 2
- David Lough – 5
- Alcides Escobar – 3
- J.C. Gutierrez
- Jeff Francoeur
- Bruce Chen
- Salvador Perez – 4
- Will Smith
Counting Jimenez facing some batters in the 6th, Cleveland used 6 total pitchers in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings. Nine of the 10 runs were earned. Drew Stubbs had a huge day for the Indians, going 2-4 with a home run, a run scored, and 4 RBI.
The always scrappy and dangerous Oakland A’s come to town for a weekend tilt. Wade Davis (4-6, 5.55 ERA), will try to bounce back from a horrible outing his last start, when he basically wiped out gains made with four decent starts previously. The A’s will start Tommy Milone (7-7, 4.14 ERA).
AL Central Notes
Detroit Tigers (46-38): The Tigers decided with Justin Verlander on the mound, they could rest Miguel Cabrera a game. They were correct. Detroit pounded Toronto 11-1. Austin Jackson went 4-5 with a homer, 4 runs scored, 3 RBI, and a walk. Don Kelly added 3 hits and 3 runs scored. Verlander tossed 7 scoreless innings of 3-hit ball.
Chicago White Sox (34-48): Chicago won 3-2 against the Orioles on a walk-off home run by slugger Adam Dunn. With 3 hits on the day, Dunn is now hitting .207. He has 23 home runs and 57 RBI on the season.