Royals vs Indians: Escobar Powers Up; Hochevar Brilliant


Three. Eighteen. Those are the important numbers to the Kansas City Royals (76-69) after winning 6-3 Tuesday night against the Cleveland Indians. Three games out of the wild card, with 18 games to go. Folks, we are in mid September, and the Royals are still in the conversation. Now, the Royals are three out, but they are still the 6th team in the wild card standings. It will not be easy.

Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

On the Mound

Let’s start with Jeremy Guthrie. He does not have the best stuff in the world, but he competes each and every start. In this one, he scattered 9 hits over 6 innings, but only allowed one run to score. He struck out two and walked none in the outing.

Kelvin Herrera came in and allowed 3 hits and 2 runs while recording just one out. He obviously was having issues with a small cut on the third finger of his throwing hand but Manager Ned Yost left him in anyway. When finally it occurred to Yost the finger may be causing Herrera to not be as sharp as usual, the damage was done. It was back to a 2-run game.

Enter Luke Hochevar. This is the same Hochevar who has been much maligned in this city for his years of being an absolute disaster of a starter. It took the Royals several years to figure this out, but Hochevar was finally put in the bullpen, where he has dominated. He has never been as dominating as he was Tuesday night. With a runner on base, he came in and struck out Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis to get out of the inning. He returned for the 8th, and promptly mowed down Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, and Asdrubal Cabrera.  The five hitters in the middle of Cleveland’s line up, all down on strikes. It was awesome to watch.

Greg  Holland shut the door with a perfect 9th inning and his 41st save.

At the Plate

Surprisingly enough, Alcides Escobar was the hitting star of the night. He blasted a a home run in the fifth to get the Royals on the board, then he drove in a big insurance run with a single in the 8th. Salvador Perez and Billy Butler each had 2 hits in the game as well. Mike Moustakas had a big 2-run RBI double in the 6th that gave Kansas City the lead they would never relinquish.

This and That

If the Royals can continue to trim games off their deficit in this playoffs race, and can stay in this thing through the end of the season, this will be the moment I will look back on as The Moment. The Moment I truly, truly believed this team has a chance. Even if they fall short, I will remember that moment of Hochevar just baffling thos hitters in the middle of the Tribe line-up. It was as good a moment as there has been all season.

I was not a fan of the addition of another wild card berth, but now I have changed my mind. Without that second slot, the Royals would be 5.5 back with 18 to play and would not be in any conversations right now. That second berth has given same fans something to watch and cheer for that would not have existed before.

Escobar’s home run was his first since April. He now has 4 on the season.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

Without a doubt, Luke Hochevar earned his POG for a tremendous outing. I’m giving another to Escobar for a couple key hits and RBI. Honorable mention to Guthrie for keeping his team in the game, and to Moustakas for his big double.

Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians

Zach McAllister allowed 3 of his four runs in the 6th inning without recording an out. The Royals only had 3 hits in the first three innings, including Escobar’s homer.

Lonnie Chisenhall went 3 for 3. He didn’t score any runs, but Jose Ramirez pinch ran for him and scored in the 7th.

Up Next

James Shields (10-9, 3.43 ERA) will go head-to-head with former teammate, Scott Kazmir (8-7, 4.17 ERA). Shields is trying to forget his worst outing of his career last Friday when he gave up 10 runs on 14 hits in 3.2 innings. The game is at 11:05 and is not on TV locally.

AL Central Notes

Detroit Tigers (83-62): Prince Fielder had a big night in the Tigers’ 9-1 shellacking of the White Sox, going 4-5 with a home run, 1 run scored, and 2 RBI. Rick Porcello pitched a complete game to get his 12th win of the season.

Minnesota Twins (63-80): The Twins beat the Athletics 4-3, when Josh Willingham hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 8th.

Chicago White Sox (58-86): The Sox committed 4 errors and allowed 5 unearned runs in their 9-1 loss to the Tigers. This game was just an explanation point on a season most SOx fans would like to forget.