It wasn't a high-scoring affair, and Kelvin Herrera did his best Jonathan Broxton impression before ultimately recording the save thanks to great defense and an extremely slow Miguel Cabrera being the back-end of a 4 - 6 - 3 double play to finish off the game, but the Kansas City Royals completed the sweep of the lowly Detroit Tigers tonight.
The score was merely 2 - 1, but the Tigers managed 12 hits and one walk en route to scoring their single, solitary run. This meant that the Royals defense was called upon early and often to help the cause. If there was a defensive star of the night, it was absolutely Lorenzo Cain, who had quite possibly his best night in Center Field as a Royal. Much like Jarrod Dyson a night earlier, Lorenzo Cain had a diving catch on a dropping liner to record the first out of the ninth and hold Alex Avila at first base, who reached on a four-pitch Herrera walk to kick off his first Major League save opportunity. Jeffrey R. Francoeur (the "R." stands for "Rangeless") followed immediately by failing to close on a flare to shallow right that the average right fielder catches. With runners on first and second and just one out, Miguel Cabrera came to the plate with the go-ahead run at first. He took a first-pitch 101-MPH fastball in on the hands and fisted it off the mound and into Johnny Giavotella's glove at second, who flipped it to Alcides Escobar at the bag. With Andy Dirks coming hard and fast into second, Alcides Escobar leaped over Dirks but couldn't rid himself of the ball while he was airborne. Escobar came back to the ground to regain his composure and fired the ball off to first base where an injury-hampered ankle had kept Miguel Cabrera from getting up the line fast enough to beat out a throw he should have beaten out with ease.
Cain also had a highlight reel catch in the second and seemed to be involved in nearly every play, making one wonder if perhaps there were not angels in the outfield.
Royals' starter Jeremy Guthrie worked around base-runners the entire game, but left the game without having allowed a run, though Tim Collins did allow one of his inherited base-runners to score. Guthrie went 7.1 innings, giving up ten hits, zero walks, and one earned run while striking out three.
The Royals offensive attack was a bit frustrating, accumulating a total of 12 base-runners but managing a mere two runs. One of those runs was from the bat of Alex Gordon, who hung dong marvelously in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Royals has three runners on base after the Gordon lead-off shot, but none of them scored. They also loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth against Rick Porcello, but only scored one run on a fielder's choice for the first out.
What really matters is the sweep, and the Royals rang in the sweep with style with each player on the 25-man roster mounting his broom and flying around the stadium cackling incessantly while taunting the weeping Tigers, who were left to wonder how they'd lost three straight games to a team that four weeks ago was fighting a valiant battle against the dismal Twins for the worst record in the American League. To put an exclamation point on the occasion, Jeff Francoeur flew his broom into the visitors' locker room and nut-tapped each and every Tiger with the tip of his broomstick.
All is right in the world. The Royals are one win away from an 18 - 11 August, and we all know what 18 - 11 means.