Royals Recap: KC Pounds Rays, Within One Game of .500


Jun 14, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler (16) hits a RBI single during the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Kansas City Royals defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On June 4 the Royals were shutout by Sam Deduno and the Minnesota Twins 3-0 to send KC to 23-32 overall, losers of 22 of their last 28, and potentially on the verge of firing everyone in the front office. It seemed like the Royals were on their way towards another rebuilding process, and all hope was lost.

Then Deity begat unto us hope: Billy Butler‘s Rally Sauce. And it was good.

Since then Kansas City has won nine of 10 and are now within one game of .500, a place they haven’t been since May 21 when they were 21-21.

The Royals are back in this position because they took their second straight game against Tampa Bay last night, 7-2. Salvador Perez, Billy Butler, and Elliot Johnson all had two hits, Luis Mendoza had an excellent start, and the bullpen was dominant. How real is all of this? I don’t know, but my Lordy this is fun.

On the Mound

Mendoza had a rough first inning, allowing two runs, one of which was a solo shot to Matt Joyce, and things looked dicy early. But Dozer calmed down and sailed through the next five innings to finish with the quality start.

His ending line: 6 ip, 7 h, 2 er, 2 bb, 3 k, 1 hr, W

But Mendoza did leave the bullpen with a bit of a pickle in the seventh inning, leaving two on with no outs. In came Aaron Crow how mowed down both batters he faced before passing off to Tim Collins who shut down the rally. Collins finished the eighth and Kelvin Herrera took care of the ninth.

Bullpen’s line: 3 ip, 0 h, 0 r, 2 bb (both by Herrera), 6 k (two for each reliever)

This makes the 13th straight game Royals pitching has allowed three or fewer runs. KC is 10-3 in those games.

At the Plate

Perez, Butler, and Johnson each had two hits in KC’s 10-hit attack. Butler had three RBI, Perez had two, and Alex Gordon scored two runs. Yay.

One-through-four in the lineup managed to go six-for-17 with two doubles, a walk, four runs, and five RBI. Yay.

Elliot Johnson was 0-for-14 before his sixth inning single last night. He is now five-for-seven with a home run and a triple. Yay.

Kansas City scored five or more runs in back-to-back games for the first time since May 20-21 against Houston. Yay.

This and That

– Elliot Johnson is eight-for-15 (.533) with two homers, a triple, walk, stolen base, five runs scored, and five RBI vs. Tampa Bay this season.

– Zero homers from KC last night snapped a three-game streak where the Royals had homered at least once. It was the longest such streak for the Royals since they homered in five-straight games from May 7-11.

– Billy entered Friday’s game hitting .186/.211/.221 with three RBI in 90 plate appearances at Tropicana Field.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

I mention the Billy note because he doubled his career RBI total at Tampa in one game last night with three. The accomplishment earns KCPOG status. Special nods to Johnson, Perez, Crow, and Collins.

The Rays

After allowing just 15 runs in his first 11 starts of the season, Matt Moore has now allowed 19 runs in his last three starts. That would include the five runs he allowed last night to Kansas City.

Four of Tampa’s seven hits went for extra-bases, including Matt Joyce’s home run in the first inning. But Tampa couldn’t get those hits with men on base and only managed to score just the two runs.

Fernando Rodney allowed two runs on three hits in the ninth to watch his ERA balloon to 5.40. He has now allowed at least one earned run in 10 of 29 appearances this season.

Up Next

Game three of the four-game series is set for 3.10 p.m. this afternoon. Alex Cobb (6-2, 2.95) will face Jeremy Guthrie (7-3, 3.60).

AL Central Notes

Detroit Tigers (37-28): Rick Porcello allowed just three hits and no runs while striking out five with no walks in seven innings in a 4-0 win over Minnesota. Prince Fielder doubled twice and drove in two in the win. Jhonny Peralta had two hits and a RBI, Victor Martinez had an RBI double. They remain in first place by 4.5 games over Cleveland, 5 over KC.

Cleveland Indians (33-33): Jason Kipnis fielder’s choice scored Drew Stubbs as the Indians walked-off with a 2-1 over the Washington Nationals. Justin Masterson struck out 10 in seven innings but did not factor in the decision. Ryan Raburn had a solo home run.

Minnesota Twins (29-35): Twins were shut out by Rick Porcello and the Tigers, 4-0. The offense managed just three hits and two walks in the game.

Chicago White Sox (28-36): Chris Sale became the third player in baseball history to strikeout 14 and allow zero runs in a complete game… and lose. Two errors led to two Houston runs which was enough for the Astros to take the game, 2-1. Alexi Ramirez committed the two errors that led to the runs. Paul Konerko doubled. Future Royal (*fingers crossed*) Jose Altuve was two-for-four with a stolen base and RBI.