Josh Willingham’s Three-Run Double Keys Royals Win


The Kansas City Royals opened a 1.5 game lead over the Tigers with the Royals 6-5 win over the Twins in Minnesota Friday night. Ex-Twin Josh Willingham‘s double cleared loaded bases in Kansas City’s 5-run 4th inning that broke open the game.

The big inning made a winner of starter Danny Duffy (8-10) and gave the Royals their 3rd straight win.

The victory puts Kansas City 13 games over .500 at 67-54, and opened a 1.5 game lead in the American League Central over Detroit, who lost to the Blue Jays. Kansas City also continues to hold a 1 game edge over Seattle for the 2nd wild card.

On the Mound

Danny Duffy put in a solid, if short outing. Duffy went 5.1 innings, allowing 6 hits, 0 walks, and 3 runs (2 earned) with 1 strikeout. He left the game with the Royals leading 5-3 in the 6th.

Aaron Crow allowed 1 hit and got 1 out in the 6th.

Francisley Bueno got the final out of the scoreless 6th inning.

Kelvin Herrera pitched a clean 7th inning with 2 strikeouts.

Wade Davis added a scoreless 8th, though he allowed 1 hit with 1 strikeout.

Greg Holland wobbled but corrected himself to notch his A.L.-leading 37th save. Holland allowed a walk, then a double to Oswaldo Arcia that scored a run when Lorenzo Cain misplayed the ball in RF. Chris Parmalee then ground out to drive in a 2nd run. Overall, Holland gave up 1 hit, 1 walk, and 2 runs (1 earned) with 1 strikeout.

At the Plate

The Royals did most of their damage in their 5-run 4th inning, but added an important “insurance run” in 8th that turned out to be the difference in the game.

Trailing 2-0, Josh Willingham slammed a double to clear loaded bases to put Kansas City up 3-2. Willingham went 1 for 4 with the double, 1 run scored, and 3 RBI’s.

Mike Moustakas followed Willingham’s blow with an infield single, and Alcides Escobar picked up both runs with a triple. Escobar’s shallow single in the 8th inning scored Alex Gordon to give KC a 6-3 lead. Escobar went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI’s on the day.

Alex Gordon and Jarrod Dyson also checked in with 2-hit games. Gordon went 2-3 with 2 runs scored, while Dyson went 2 for 4 along with his 27th stolen base.

This and That

Kansas City is 13 games above .500 for the first time since April 26, 2003.

Despite the best back-end in baseball, the Royals are still only 17-21 in 1-run games—even after you include Friday’s win.

Eric Hosmer‘s x-ray Thursday showed his hand is not healed and he will not have it checked against until after Kansas City returns home from their current 10-game road trip.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

With a nod to Alcides Escobar’s 2-hit, 3 RBI game, our pick goes to Josh Willingham for opening the floodgates on Twins starter Ricky Nolasco with his bases-clearing double into the right field corner.

More from Kansas City Royals

The Twins

Minnesota catcher Kurt Suzuki didn’t make an out on Friday, going 3 for 3 with 2 singles, a double, 1 walk, and 1 run scored.

Up Next

The Royals continue with the 2nd game of their 4-game set in Minnesota. Yordano Ventura (9-8, 3.46 ERA) will pitch for Kansas City against ex-Yankee Phil Hughes  (12-8, 3.88 ERA) for the Twins. Game time is 6:10 PM CST at Target Field in Minnesota.


Nori Aoki RF4000014.269.338.342.680
   Lorenzo Cain RF1010001.301.340.412.752
Omar Infante 2B5000015.257.296.357.653
Salvador Perez C5110025.267.304.413.717
Billy Butler 1B4110105.277.325.384.709
Alex Gordon LF3220004.280.356.432.788
Josh Willingham DH4113014.210.341.399.740
Mike Moustakas 3B4120004.203.264.388.652
Alcides Escobar SS4023004.277.313.372.685
Jarrod Dyson CF4020004.291.336.355.691
Team Totals3861261540.316.350.474.824

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table.

2B: S Perez (20, off R Nolasco); J Willingham (7, off R Nolasco).
3B: J Dyson (4, off R Nolasco); A Escobar (4, off R Nolasco).
HBP: A Gordon (8, by R Nolasco).
TB: J Dyson 4; A Escobar 4; J Willingham 2; A Gordon 2; S Perez 2; M Moustakas 2; B Butler; L Cain.
RBI: A Escobar 3 (40); J Willingham 3 (37).
2-out RBI: A Escobar.
Team LOB: 7.
With RISP: 5 for 19.
DP: 1. O Infante-A Escobar-B Butler.
E: D Duffy (4); L Cain (2).
SB: J Dyson (27, 2nd base off C Thielbar/K Suzuki); L Cain (18, 2nd base off R Pressly/K Suzuki).

Danny Santana CF4000025.325.363.475.838
Brian Dozier 2B4001004.236.335.420.755
Joe Mauer 1B4010004.276.347.370.717
Kennys Vargas DH4010014.296.345.426.771
Trevor Plouffe 3B4110004.246.317.398.715
Kurt Suzuki C3130104.307.367.395.762
Oswaldo Arcia RF4111014.228.304.418.722
Eduardo Escobar SS4110014.275.315.399.714
Jordan Schafer LF3110003.
   Chris Parmelee PH1001001.251.304.387.692
Team Totals355931537.257.278.371.649

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

2B: K Suzuki (24, off D Duffy); T Plouffe (32, off D Duffy); J Mauer (19, off W Davis); O Arcia (11, off G Holland).
SH: D Santana (2, off D Duffy).
TB: K Suzuki 4; T Plouffe 2; O Arcia 2; J Mauer 2; E Escobar; J Schafer; K Vargas.
GIDP: O Arcia (5).
RBI: O Arcia (30); C Parmelee (22); B Dozier (52).
Team LOB: 5.
With RISP: 1 for 11.
DP: 1. J Mauer-E Escobar.

Danny Duffy, W (8-10) 5.16320102.607950
Aaron Crow, H (9) 0.11000003.0073
Francisley Bueno, H (5) 0.10000002.4922
Kelvin Herrera, H (13) 1 0000201.591510
Wade Davis, H (26) 1 1000100.841814
Greg Holland, S (37) 1 1211101.862212
Team Totals 9 9531503.0014391

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table.

Ricky Nolasco, L (5-8) 6 7551305.998148
Caleb Thielbar 0.11000003.0574
Jared Burton 1.11110204.372014
Brian Duensing 0.12000002.28107
Ryan Pressly 1 1000000.7586
Team Totals 9 12661506.0012679

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table.

Balks: None.
WP: J Burton (1).
HBP: R Nolasco (1; A Gordon).
IBB: None.
Pickoffs: Non