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Royals Recap: Maxwell’s Bat Helps Spark Big Comeback

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The general manager for the Kansas City Royals (60-53) made one seemingly minor acquisition at the MLB Trade Deadline – he trade for outfielder Justin Maxwell. Give Dayton Moore kudos for that move. Maxwell has been hot since joining the Royals and he helped propel them to a 6-3 comeback win against the Boston Red Sox (70-48).

Aug 9, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals center fielder Justin Maxwell (27) runs the bases in the fifth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On the Mound

Ervin Santana was due to have a bad night and that night was Friday. The Red Sox jumped all over him early, chasing him after just 3.2 innings. Santana surrendered 6 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks. He only struck out 2. A couple poor defensive plays cost him several runs last night but he wasn’t making effective pitches most of the evening.

The bullpen was amazing once again, going 5.1 scoreless innings with just 2 hits and 2 walks. Francisley Bueno was terrific in his 2.1 innings after being just called up. Greg Holland earned his 24th straight save and his 31st overall.

At the Plate

The rare lapses on defense were made up for at the dish. Three Royal batters had 3 hits – Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, and Justin Maxwell. Two more Royals added 2 hits in the 16-hit onslaught – Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar. Gordon and Maxwell each homered. Justin Maxwell was specifically effective, going 3-5 with the dinger, 2 runs scored, and 2 RBI.

This and That

The Royals scored 6 runs in the 6th inning to comeback from a 6-3 deficit. That inning was as exciting to watch as any inning for the Royals in a very long time.

In 7 games and 19 plate appearances, Maxwell’s small sample sized slash reads – .471/.526/1.000/1.526 – huge numbers! He has also hit 3 home runs and driven in 6. These will come down in a big way but it sure has been fun to see him be on fire in first days as a Royal.

Eric Hosmer missed a grounder at first in the initial inning that maybe should have been nabbed. It would have been a tough play but Baseball America just named Hosmer the best defensive first baseman in the American League, and if that were so, he should have made that play. It would have saved two runs. He also made a boneheaded base running error in the fifth, getting thrown out at second on a line drive to first.

In the 4th, with the bases loaded, Boston’s Mike Napoli drove a fly ball to the wall in center field. There is a good chance Lorenzo Cain would have gotten to that ball and saved three more runs. Maxwell went after it hard but just didn’t have the closing speed to catch it. It would have been a tremendous play for anyone, so this is more of an observation than a criticism.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

Maxwell earned his second POG in his short time in Kansas City. Here’s to hoping he earns many, many, more. Holland deserves nonorable mention for saving 24 games in his last 24 opportunities.

Jul 31, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Greg Holland (56) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Royals defeated the Twins 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox

The still dangerous David Ortiz went 2-5 with a home run, 2 runs scored, and 1 RBI on the evening. Mike Napoli went 2-3 with a run, and that double that drove in three in the 4th inning. Every starter but Brock Holt had at least one hit for the Red Sox.

Former Chicago White Sox Jake Peavy was welcomed back to Kansas City in fine style. He was pounded for 6 runs on 10 hits in 5 innings.

Up Next

Jeremy Guthrie (12-7, 3.96 ERA) takes the bump today in search for his 13th win of the year. The Red Sox will send Felix Doubront (8-5, 3.56 ERA) to the mound.

AL Central Notes

Detroit Tigers (68-46): Finally! The Tigers 12-game winning streak came to an end despite that they scored 2 runs in the 9th to tie the game. The Yankees went on to win 4-3 with a run in the 10th. Miguel Cabrera hit his 34th home run and drove in 3.

Cleveland Indians (62-54): The Indians continue to struggle as they dropped their 5th in a row and are now just 1 game ahead of the Royals in the AL Central. They fell to the Angels 5-2. Their runs were generated by Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley home runs.

Minnesota Twins (50-62): Brian Duensing won both ends of a double header against the White Sox Friday. Justin Morneau hit 2 home runs and drove in 5 in the first game and Josh Willingham hit a home in the second game as he came off the DL yesterday. Oswaldo Arcia hit a dinger in both games.

Chicago White Sox (43-71): The White Sox dropped two both games of the double header against the Twins despite leading both contests late. The bullpen couldn’t hold late leads in either game.