James Shields seems like a perfectly nice young man. I'm not privy to all that takes place in the clubhouse, but he seems like a guy that is generally pleasant to be around, with good personal hygiene, an affable personality, and decent manners. So I don't know if this is some elaborate hazing prank the team is putting on him, or if the hitters just loathe James Shields for some secret reason we're not aware of, but they once again conspired to deprive him of victory for a game he pitched well enough to earn the win.
Shields went seven innings, giving up nine hits, but just two of those hits were for extra bases. He struck out six and walked three, while giving up just two runs, and yet when he left, the game was still tied 2-2.
Big Game James did not appear pleased about being pulled after 111 pitches and seven innings of work, but Uncle Ned made the sound decision to protect his ace for another day in favor of his bullpen. With Shields out of the way, the Royals offense finally stopped messing around and easily scored another two runs thanks to an RBI double by Billy Butler and an RBI double by David Lough.
Billy had two hits, and he is really starting to heat up now. Beginning with his five-hit game back on May 13 against the Angels, Billy is hitting .338/.440/.455. You'd like to see that power eventually go up again, but I'll take Billy inching slowly toward a .300 batting average.
On the other side of the spectrum, Alcides Escobar is hitting just .213/.232.250 in his last 20 games.
Salvador Perez hit a nice home run into the left-field seats. More surprisingly - he walked! It was his fifth free pass of the year. Coming into tonight, he was tied for fifth in the league for fewest walks among anyone with at least 100 plate appearances (Jeff Keppinger has two! He has completely imploded this year.)
Kelvin Herrera had a 1-2-3 scoreless eighth inning, including a strikeout of Jose Escalanate. Haha, just kidding, I totally made that name up. But seriously, if I hadn't told you, you totally wouldn't have known because the Astros are the most anonymous team in baseball.