Royals Mercifully Lose, Avoiding The Dreaded 18-11 Start

"Just do what you do best," instructs Salvador Perez. - Rob Carr

With the course of the entire season riding on one imperative loss, the Royals persevered, losing 4-3 thanks to a joint effort by Tim Collins and Luke Hochevar.

Clearly Ervin "Tragic" Santana hadn't gotten the memo, preferring instead to try his damnedest to lead the Royals to victory in spite of the ramifications that holding the record of 18-11 carried for the Royals. Fortunately, his teammates were able to intervene, securing the loss and avoiding the win that would all but ensure the unavoidable 65-97 campaign that comes hand in hand with an 18-11 start.

In the first inning, Ervin Santana yielded a one-out single to Manny Machado before yielding a tailor-made double play ball up the middle that thankfully hit the bag at second base, skipping over the diving glove of Alcides Escobar which ended up keeping the inning alive, with Nick Markakis arriving safely at first and Machado standing at third. Instead of being out of the inning, the fates allowed for the Orioles to plate three runs in the first inning.

Seeing that the damage had been done, Santana cruised through the next five innings, allowing just four base-runners before handing the baton to Tim Collins.

The Royals needed those Orioles runs to score because Alex Gordon's two-run dong hanging in the seventh drew the game to a 3-3 tie. Now if there is one thing Alex Gordon can't do, it's not crush balls in Baltimore. He simply cannot help it. As he told Sun reporters after the game while shrugging, "I'll do what I can to help y'all, but the game's out there, and it's play or get played. That simple." He then added, "All in the game, yo. All in the game."

Thankfully for the Royals, Tim Collins knew what needed to be done. Channeling the mystical powers of the leprechaun, Collins walked Adam Jones to kick off the eighth inning. Knowing the leadoff walk spelled doom for the Royals, he let himself strike out Chris Davis before ceding the mound to Luke Hochevar with a runner on base. If ever there were any doubt that Collins puts the well-being of the team ahead of himself, those doubts were dispelled when he knew that a loss would be charged to him if Hochevar were allowed to pitch to batters with a runner on base.

Like clockwork, Hochevar committed an error, sending an errant throw squarely off the butt of that inherited runner, with his pick-off throw skittering past Hosmer to the backstop allowing Jones to advance to second without contest. Matt Wieters then placed a double on the chalk in left field, and the Royals escaped with a loss, much to the relief of a city that has never quite forgotten what 18-11 meant.

Tonight, even with a rain delay, Charm City imbued its visiting team with a bit of luck, though the luck of the Irish played a part in the Royals fortunate loss.

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