In an entirely predictable turn of events, the Royals and Marlons duked it out (or perhaps more appropriately, didn't duke it out) at Kauffman Stadium tonight, reaching extra innings before even a single run was scored.
The tone was set early as Jose Fernandez and Brucie Chen took turns stymieing their overmatched--or in Chen's case, an adjective more in the vein of 'outwitted' or 'tricked'--opponents at each turn. Yes, The Sino-Panamanian Sensation had the good fortune to get to face the woeful Marlons offense, but he went just as deep into the game as Fernandez while striking out just as many Miami Marlons and also allowing the same number of hits. Sure, he walked two more batters and it took him 13 more pitches to get through his seven innings of work, but Chen did hold down the Marlons, doing his part to keep things close.
Fernandez was electric with his fastball sitting in the mid-90s. He allowed just four Royals to reach base, with Butler and Kottaras singling in the first and second, respectively, before four innings of shutdown pitching, followed by a lead-off walk to Butler in the bottom of the seventh. Escobar followed with a two-out single that advanced Butler to second, marking the only time a Royals hitter advanced to scoring position, but with the exception of a one-out single in the bottom of the tenth, that was the entirety of the Royals offensive attack.
It's hard to blame the Royals for not mustering any semblance of an offensive attack against the Marlons' young ace, but the 1 - 0 loss was costly nonetheless, as a chance to gain ground on Tampa and possibly Oakland, Detroit, and Texas, all of whom were either tied or losing at the time of this writing, was squandered.
The Marlons, too, struggled to score runs, but they finally did the Wayanses proud--yes, even Kim--in the tenth when rookie Jake Marisnick got grazed by Kelvin Herrera attempting to go inside. Marisnick promptly stole second off of defensive replacement Salvador Perez and was quickly driven in by fellow rookie Christian Yelich with a single to right that bounced a handful of times before Maxwell fielded it and double-pumped before throwing it just into the infield and ceding the run. Apparently, they don't value winning baseball games in the Astros' organization.