The Royals hit their sweet 16 tonight, reaching that number in singles, with just one walk and as many extra base hits as I had sitting on my couch tonight - zero. The Royals performed a Dayton Moore/Ned Yost dream performance with clutch hitting, productive outs, and singles, singles, singles, a recipe that is totally repeatable!
The Royals could not score all of last night, and it only took them five pitches to score tonight, when Nori Aoki and Eric Hosmer led off the game with singles, and shoddy Mariner defense by former grit-master Royal Willie Bloomquist plated the game's first run. The Royals added another run in the third in the most Yostian fashion - a leadoff single by Alcides Escobar, a stolen base, a sacrifice bunt by Aoki (in the third inning!!), and a sacrifice fly by Eric Hosmer. Productive out positively plate points!
The Royals would score two more runs in the fourth off shoddy Mariners defense (remember when Jack Zduriencik was lauded for his revolutionary methods of evaluating defense? LOL). The Royals would add another run on productive outs after back-to-back leadoff singles by Billy Butler and Salvador Perez led to a run courtesy of a runner-advancing fly out by Alex Gordon and an RBI ground out by Johnny Giavotella.
That would be more than enough for Jason Vargas, who cruised through the Mariners lineup. Vargas retired fourteen of the first fifteen hitters and allowed just one runner to reach scoring position all night. Over seven shutout innings against his former ballclub, he gave just three hits and no walks while striking out six. Maybe Dayton was right about Vargas building back up to his April numbers!
The Royals cruised to a 6-1 victory with Gordon, Hosmer, and Perez all collecting three-hit games, and Lorenzo Cain and Nori Aoki chipping in with a multi-hit performance. After some early panicking after last weekend, the Royals can clinch a winning roadtrip with a win tomorrow. The Royals are learning all the right lessons on this road trip too - forget power and walks, singles and productive outs are the wave of the future!