Hey, I know I had given up.
For eight innings and two outs, the Royals were incredibly awful offensively. They did not get a runner past first base until Eric Hosmer singled to lead off the 9th and stole second as Billy Butler struck out for the second out of the inning. Prior to that, Kansas City's best scoring opportunities were a Lorenzo Cain drive that curled foul with Billy Butler on first and two out in the 4th inning and a 5th inning lead-off single by Mike Moustakas who was then doubled off first on a line drive off the bat of Elliott Johnson that was snared by Prince Fielder. In other words, the Royals did not really have any scoring opportunities.
Then something crazy happened. Instead of having to watch Jose Valverde clown and gesticulate his way off the field after another converted save, the Royals got to watch Lorenzo Cain circle the bases after smashing a two run homer to tie the game. Cain, who had struck out in his three previous at-bats, jumped on a hanging 0-2 breaking ball and the game was tied.
Detroit had put nine base runners on against James Shields in seven innings, but only managed two runs. The first came in inning number one on a lead-off double and a flair single by Fielder. The second came in the fifth when the Tigers seven and eight hitters (Tuiasosopo and Brayan Pena) hit back to back doubles. It should be noted that David Lough made a great catch in right field in the 3rd which saved a run and NO, Jeff Francoeur does not catch that ball or even come close to it.
Tim Collins, pitching for the third straight day, came on in relief of Shields and promptly walked the first two batters, but rallied to notch a strikeout before Ned Yost turned to Luke Hochevar. Hochevar! I groaned and I would wager most of you did, too. All Luke did, however, was retire the final two batters of the 8th and all three in the 9th - two with strikeouts to keep Detroit in range.
Following Cain's heroics, Greg Holland pitched a dominating 10th inning: eleven pitches, ten strikes, and striking out Torii Hunter and Cabrera. Since blowing a save on May 6th, Holland has pitched 12 times (12 innings total, too) and allowed just six total baserunners, no runs and struck out 18. I haven't done the math on that, but that seems to be pretty good pitching.
Miguel Tejada who had previously hit a single pinch hitting for Johnson and remained in the game at second, led off the bottom of the 10th with another single. Yost opted to have Alcides Escobar sacrifice bunt and Escobar executed the play. Unless you are going to pinch hit for him (and I'm not sure that I would have), the bunt makes sense there, based on the game situation and on the fact that Escobar has apparently completely forgotten how to hit a baseball.
Alex Gordon then moved Tejada to third - likely just by happenstance - with a ground ball and that brought Eric Hosmer to the plate. Hosmer had struck out in his first two at-bats and flied out on the first pitch of his third at-bat, had led-off the 9th with a single to make Cain's two run homer possible. Hosmer grounded a single right up the middle to win the game.
That was a much needed 7-2 homestand for the Royals and a nice series win over the division leading Tigers, who were held to just seven runs total over the three games.
Someday, James Shields will get a win to his credit, but at least Kansas City has started to win the games in which Shields starts.
A nice little hot streak that will go nowhere or the beginning of an actual resurgence?