With two of the worst offense in the league facing two of the best pitching staffs in the league, it appeared we were likely in for a snoozefest 1-0 ballgame for the capacity crowd that included Hollywood starlets like Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, and Olivia Wilde. Instead, we got a wild slugfest filled with challenges, plays at the plate, and some thrilling final innings that unfortunately left the Royals on the wrong side of things in a 7-5 loss to Seattle.
James Shields appeared to go back to his shaky days of May, allowing a leadoff double to start the game to Endy Chavez of all people, a double that would lead to a run in the first. In the fourth Mariners catcher Mike Zunino went all "Trumbo" on us and blasted a pitch that nearly hit the Royals Hall of Fame to put Seattle 2-0. The Mariners would make it 5-0 in the fifth on a Robinson Cano RBI double and a two-run home run by Kansas City native Logan Morrison.
But the plucky Royals battled back. Hisashi Iwakuma makes a living downstairs, but Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas were both able to golf one of his pitches into the seats for a solo home run in the sixth to put the Royals on the board. The Royals chased Iwakuma out of the game in the sixth when Billy Butler and Alex Gordon opened the inning with singles, then both came around to score on a single by Perez and a force-out RBI by Lorenzo Cain. After facing a 5-0 deficit, the Royals had clawed their way to a tie game after six frames.
Both teams have excellent bullpens, but it was the Mariners pen that appeared to falter first in the eighth inning. Again, Butler (unclutch!) and Gordon opened the inning with singles. After they advanced on a fly out by Perez, Lorenzo Cain was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a lefty-on-lefty matchup of Charlie Furbush vs. Mike Moustakas.
Furbush won. Moustakas popped out (stop me if you've heard that before) and Alcides Escobar struck out to end the threat. Just an inning later, the Mariners would make it hurt as Brad Miller deposited a Greg Holland pitch into the right field seats (again, a nice low pitch that Miller elevated) to give the Mariners the lead. They would add another run (it would have been two had Jarrod Dyson not thrown out Robinson Cano at the plate) to make it 7-5.
The Royals would actually get two on base in the ninth, but having pinch-ran for Billy Butler in the eighth, they were forced to send Nori Aoki to pinch hit for Pedro Ciriaco in a critical situation. Aoki hit into a force out, putting the game on Alex Gordon. Alex looked into Paul Rudd's charming eyes, gave a confident wink, then got ready to win the game for the local celebrity.
But alas, there is no joy in Kansas City. For mighty Alex has struck out. The game is over. A new streak has begun - the Royals have lost two in a row. And for the first time in 72 hours, they are no longer in first place. Paul Rudd walks out despondently, muttering to Jason Sudeikis, "we'll get 'em next time." Jason just pats Paul's moppy hair and says, "sure we will Tiger." He sighs knowingly, the smile gone from his face. "Sure, we will."