Royals, Holland Barely Hold 10th-inning Lead, Take Game, Series from Pale Hoes

If a team falls in the woods and no one is watching to hear it, does it still happen?

Pitchers dueled. Hitters flailed. Royals struck out with shocking frequency. Scoring threats were fewer and farther between than one might have imagined in one's wildest run-starving fantasies.

Jeremy Guthrie was particularly efficacious, working with a spirit of expedition that simultaneously made both FedEx and Meriwether Lewis salivate in a most Pavlovian manner. His efforts toward the end of advancing the game along were supported in large part by the arms manning the corner outfield positions, with swift and precise strikes at home (Alex Gordon) in the first and third (Jeff Francoeur) in the seventh and another coming when Jeff Francoeur caught the biggest douchebag in baseball between first and second as he rounded too late after admiring a double that he admired for just a few seconds too long after assuming it was "gawn."

When Guthrie's day was complete, he had finished eight innings, striking out four, walking none, and allowing six hits while yielding zero runs earned or otherwise. Only the aforementioned single that turned into an out on the basepaths and an Alejandro de Aza first-inning double were particularly hard-hit with Guthrie otherwise inducing almost entirely weak contact.

The game was scoreless heading into the top of the ninth when Jeff Francoeur stretched a single to the gap into a double by way of aggressive base-running that strangely didn't lead to a second out. Eric Hosmer flew out to center field, failing to advance the runner and becoming the second out of the inning. Jesse Crain was brought in to face the right-handed Johnny Giavotella and couldn't find the strike zone, issuing a four-pitch walk to the diminutive New Orleanian. This brought Friday night's hero to the plate, Lorenzo Cain. Hitting from behind the shadow of Comiskey The Sequel's upper reaches, Cain fouled off pitches attempting to find a pitch he could do something with before striking out in the Royals' most palpable squandered scoring opportunity.

Tim Collins would take to the mound in the ninth inning and, much like Jesse Crain in the half-inning prior, was unable to find the strike zone in his first batter faced, issuing a lead-off walk to de Aza. Ray Olmedo's bunt attempt came up the line fast enough for Eric Hosmer to turn and try to get the lead runner at second, an ultimately futile attempt, but Olmedo had jogged up the line and ended up being thrown out at first despite having succeeded in advancing the runner. If he'd done anything but trot up the line, he'd have been safe.

Following the embarrassing base-running blunder, Kelvin Herrera nearly caused a massive epidemic of coronary events as he: intentionally walked Dan Johnson; gave up a sharply hit lined shallow Alexei single to left where Alex Gordon sat perched ready to gun down de Aza a second time; and finally induced a grounder to second where Giavotella started a cathartic 4 - 6 - 3 double play.

Immediately following the regional raising of blood pressure by way of worrisome relief pitching, Alcides Escobar flared a single into shallow center. Gordon followed with a strikeout while facing new reliever and best friend of the Royals, Brett Myers. Escobar got caught stealing with Billy Butler at the plate.

Then with two outs things got going for the Royals. Butler drew a walk. Dyson pinch-ran for Butler, went first-to-third on a Salvador Perez flare to shallow right field, and Mike Moustakas singled in the run to put the Royals up 1 - 0 in the top of the tenth. Francoeur singled in another run to make it 2 - 0 before Eric Hosmer ended the road-half of the inning with his fourth whiff of the afternoon.

Greg Holland came in to attempt to close the door only to issue a lead-off walk to the ultimate Pale Ho. He got Dayan Viciedo to fly out to center before walking his second hitter of the inning, Orlando Hudson. Gordon Beckham doubled to left, plating just Pierzynski, putting runners at second and third and just one out. Holland got de Aza to strike out for the second out of the inning after almost hitting him on a squared bunt attempt earlier in the plate appearance. Olmedo then followed his ninth inning blunder with a three-pitch punch-out to finish out the game fittingly.

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