This game was a perfect microcosm of Kansas City Royals baseball: consistent failure against a better organization and team, punctuated by bouts of competency, that ultimately resulted in losing and disappointment.
But let’s start from the beginning.
The Cardinals made things interesting immediately by loading the bases in the first but did not score any runs. Next inning, though, the Cardinals rode the singles train to the promised land. A Mark Ellis single, stolen base, and a Carpenter single would score Ellis. Vargas induced a pop-up to end the inning, but the damage had been done.
Offensively, the Royals were dismal for most of regulation. Usually this is a cause for lament, but against Adam Wainwright, it is somewhat palatable, as Wainwright has been brilliant against everyone this year. Gordon walked to lead off the 2nd inning, but the Royals would not get on base again until the 6th with an Escobar single. Still, the Royals swung at many first pitches and did not come to the plate with a good approach.
Vargas worked around baserunners all night, squirming away under the pressure. In the 7th inning, though, he eventually succumbed to the runners again. A leadoff double by Carpenter placed one in scoring position with nobody out, and an ill-advised throw to third on a Grichuk bunt placed runners at the corners with no outs. A Holliday ground out over Vargas’ head scored Carpenter and it was 2-0 Cardinals. By this point, though, the Royals had accomplished all of one hit and one walk against Wainwright. In a small way, it felt like a perfect game so far, and those 2 runs might as well have been Kilamanjaro.
The Royals threatened in in the 7th and 8th innings but did not come through. In the 7th, a Gordon double and a Perez walk brought up runners on first and second with 1 out. A double play possibility loomed as Cain came to the plate, and he hit into a double play which was held up by review In the 8th, an Escobar double made things interesting, but Dyson became Wainwright’s 7th ‘strikeout' of the evening after a blown call by the umpires—Dyson fouled the third strike off the ground, but Escobar did steal third in the process. Infante lined out, leaving yet another runner stranded on third.
They say the third time is the charm, and for the Royals, it was. In the 9th inning, Eric Hosmer struck out for the 4th time—but the ball got away from Molina and Hosmer beat out the throw. Butler chose a great time for his first hit, singling to center, and that was it for Wainwright (and also for Butler, who was subbed for Ciriaco). In came in Rosenthal. Gordon walked again, loading the bases. Perez shattered his bat but scored Hosmer via a non-double play ground ball (who was pinch-ran for by Aoki). And, to score the second run, Cain singled to centerfield. Yeah yeah, Moose struck out and Escobar lined out but SCORING.
Nothing happened in the 10th inning, but Wild Herrera entered in the 11th, ultimately dooming the Royals. He walked Peter Bourjos, who stole second base. A double for Carpenter scored Bourjos, making him 5-5 with a walk on the night. Another hit by John Jay forced Herrera out for little Timmy Collins who exacerbated the problem and let another two Cardinals to score.
In the bottom of the 11th inning, Yost's decision to pinch run for both Butler and Perez came back to bite him, and the Royals didn't even get a baserunner. Game over, Cardinals win 5-2.
Tomorrow night the Royals attempt to take the series but face youngster Michael Wacha, sending a hopefully healthy Yordano Ventura to the mound. Tomorrow is also the first day of the draft, and the Royals look to the future. Their present, however, is 28-31, on pace for 77 wins for the 8th full season and 9th total of Dayton Moore's run as General Manager. Be Royal.