I apologize to all the Kansas City Royals fans who eagerly anticipated last night's game recap for the 5-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians; things were busy enough at the main SB Nation last night, then Tim Lincecum had to go out and throw a no-hitter. But after watching the replay of the game online, since FSKC didn't carry the game, I can confirm that you did not miss much.
The game started as a pretty typical Jeremy Guthrie start. Through five innings, Guthrie had allowed one run on four hits, striking out one and walking one. The Indians nearly scored on Guthrie in the first inning, but Alex Gordon made a pretty spectacular grab to save at least one run:
Besides that, Guthrie was well on his way to one of those starts where he succeeds despite his lack of swing-and-miss stuff. Then, the sixth inning happened.
Kipnis led off with a single to left field, then Michael Brantley cracked a one-out double, putting runners on second and third. Guthrie issued an intentional walk to Carlos Santana, then fanned Jason Giambi to bring Lonnie Chisenhall to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs.
Chisenhall jumped on the first pitch he saw from Guthrie, crushing a hanging curveball over the Royals bullpen in rightfield for a grand slam.
The third baseman may have killed the rally, but he gave Cleveland a 5-0 with his sixth homer of the season. Someday, maybe Mike Moustakas can be as good a hitter as Chisenhall.
Guthrie has now surrendered 22 homers this season; by my count, only four of them have been with runners on base, including Chisenhall's grand slam. I can't find the exact statistic, but I'm fairly certain around 40% of home runs are hit with runners on base; right now only 18% of Guthrie's home runs have been multi-run. Considering the fact that the starter is still battling homer issues despite leaving Coors Field, we should expect more back-breaking homers, not less.
The Royals did claw back into the game, but it proved to be too little, too late. Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain drew leadoff walks to start the seventh, then Miguel Tejada hit a one-out single to score Perez. David Lough hit a groundout for the second out of the inning, which prompted Terry Francona to call for an intentional walk of Alex Gordon, bringing Alcides Escobar to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs.
Even though I had seen the box score and saw that Escobar collected a two-out hit, I didn't actually believe it was going to happen. The light-hitting shortstop always seems to come to the plate during this clutch situations when he is the No. 2 spot. It's possible I only remember them and forget when everyone else does because Escobar hitting second frustrates me, or maybe a No. 2 hitter is important and receives the second most plate appearances.
Either way, Escobar delivered, hitting a single to left, driving in Cain and Tejada. Eric Hosmer struck out to end the inning, ending the scoring threat
Even though the Kansas City Comeback Kids did not come through this time, I admit that it is nice to never feel like this team is completely out of a game. For whatever reason, this team has battled back late and picked up some nice victories this season. That doesn't, however, excuse their 43-48 record 91 games into a season when they were hoping to compete.
Perez ended up drawing two walks in Saturday's game, which increased his walk total for the season by 25%. Hosmer and Billy Butler both had multi-hit games, but I had as many extra-base hits on Saturday night as Royals hitters did (whomever makes the best joke out of this sentence wins a free Royals Review subscription for life).
The Royals will take on Cleveland later this afternoon to avoid a three-game sweep and five straight losses before the All-Star break.