Royals Recap: Davis Wins in TB Return, Take Series


Jun 16, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) high fives teammates after he scored against the Tampa Bay RaysTropicana Field.The Kansas City Royals defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A solid outing from Wade Davis and an offensive outbursts from Alcides Escobar and Jeff Francoeur lifted the Royals over the Rays, 5-3. The win gets KC back within a game of .500 (33-34) and keeps them at 5 game back of Detroit for first place in the AL Central.

On the Mound

It was pretty, nor was it particularly dominating, but you could argue Sunday was one of the most encouraging outings for Wade Davis since he has become a member of the Royals starting rotation. After allowing two runs on three hits and two walks in the first inning – an inning that took over 35 pitches to complete – Davis calmed down and cruised through five innings to earn himself the win.

His final line: 6 ip, 5 h, 2 er, 2 bb, 4 k, 106 pitches

Again, not tremendous numbers, but if you take out the first inning you’ll notice he allowed just two hits and no walks over the final five innings.

What makes this outing so encouraging is that Davis was able to limit the damage, recover, and then take control of the game. This is just the fourth outing of the season where Davis allowed fewer hits than innings pitched in an outing where he lasted at least six innings. And he did this without his best stuff, striking out the fewest batters in an outing for him in a month.

Davis isn’t fixed by any means, but it was a good sign in his read towards earning a starting spot in KC’s future rotation.

The Bullpen: 3 ip, 2 h, 1 er, 2 bb, 4 k

It wasn’t their most dominating appearance of the season, but it was more than enough to get the job done. Jose Lobaton homered off Greg Holland in the ninth, the first run he has allowed since blowing a save on May 6. Holland has now face 100 batters this season and has struck out 40 of them. Not bad.

At the Plate

Alcides Escobar may be starting to turn the corner at the plate after an excellent series in Tampa Bay. He was 3-for-4 on Sunday with a double, run scored, and RBI. Esky was 6-for-15 in the series with three extra-base hits.

Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler each had two hits in the game. It was encouraging to see Hosmer bounce back after hitting Alex Cobb in the head with a line drive on Saturday.

Alex Gordon drove in two runs.

This and That

– Hosmer is 14-for-46 (.304) with three doubles and a home run since moving to the two spot in the order.

– Butler is batting .362 (17-for-47)/.426/.468 with five doubles and seven RBI in his last 13 games. Butler had just seven doubles in the entire month of May.

– Escobar had three extra-base hits in the Tampa Bay series. He had only three extra-base hits in his previous 115 plate appearances coming into the series.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

Alcides Escobar receives the Player of the Game for his three-hit performance on Sunday. A big tip of the hat to Wade Davis for his performance as well.

The Rays

Tampa Bay is now 5-1 against the Royals this season with a random game still left for sometime this summer to makeup the snow out from May.

Matt Joyce (6-for-15, 2 HR, 2B) and Luke Scott (6-for-10, HR, 2 2B) were the catalysts for the Rays offense this weekend but couldn’t get much support around them to pull out more than one game. Evan Longoria was 4-for-12 with a home run and a double, which about matches his career .326/.400/.574 line against the Royals.

Up Next

KC travels to Cleveland to start a three-game series tonight at 6:05. Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 15.26 ERA) will start against James Shields (2-6, 2.79). This is a series KC needs to win to A) get back to .500 and B) legitimize their push to get back into contention by the All-Star break. Winning two of three games would work just fine.

AL Central Notes

Detroit Tigers (38-29): Detroit used a great outing from Doug Fister and home runs from Torri Hunter and Austin Jackson to beat Minnesota, 5-2. Detroit starts a three-game series against Baltimore tonight.

Cleveland Indians (34-34): Corey Kluber struck out eight in eight innings to defeat Steven Strasburg and the Washington Nationals, 2-0. Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana drove in runs for the Indians. Cleveland hosts KC starting tonight.

Minnesota Twins (30-36): Minnesota managed just three hits against Detroit on Sunday in a 5-2 loss. Brian Dozier had two of those hits – a home run and a double. The Twins are off today before starting a three-game series against the White Sox on Tuesday.

Chicago White Sox (28-38): Things are getting ugly in Chicago as the Houston Astros won their third straight against the White Sox on Sunday, 5-4. Houston will go for the sweep later tonight.