Vargas Dominates, Ibanez Homers in 4-0 Series Win vs. Minnesota

Ibanez, Ageless Master of Baseball - Hannah Foslien

Don't you think Raul Ibanez gets tired of being told he's old?  He probably can't tie his shoelaces without being referenced as a 'veteran' example, let alone making records by continuing to play.  Regardless, the Royals close out the series win versus the Twins with a pleasant 4-0 victory.

In the second inning, the Royals made some noise against Kevin Correia, scoring twice and forcing him to throw almost 40 pitches.  Salvador Perez led off with a line drive single.  Two batters later, Omar Infante smashed a ground-rule double to right field, placing runners at the corners with one out.  Mike Moustakas scored Raul Ibanez (who had hit into a force earlier to erase Perez) on a single to right field, beating the shift.  Jarrod Dyson continued the singles train, scoring Infante on a hit to center field.  After an Alcides Escobar fly out, Eric Hosmer walked to load the bases for Billy Butler.  Butler struck out swinging, thus ending the threat. 

As one might expect, the Royals completely let Correia off the hook, allowing him to pitch six innings, scattering a few baserunners but refusing to hit extra base hits.  Meanwhile, Jason Vargas did Jason Vargas-y things: efficient, excellent, and limiting damage when he allowed baserunners.  Vargas is the sort that lulls you to sleep, as he isn’t overpowering, flashy, or memorable.  Fortunately for Vargas, flashy is not necessary in baseball, and his precision performance kept the Royals in the game despite a poor offensive showing.  Vargas’ final line:  7 innings pitched, 0 runs, 4 hits (all singles), 2 walks, 5 strikeouts.  Vargy continues to be excellent.

Matt Guerrier replaced Correia in the seventh inning, although the Royals did not realize it.  Hosmer walked for the third time, but Escobar, Butler, and Gordon went out with a wimper, making them a combined 0-12 with 4 strikeouts.  The rest of the lineup continued to flounder, but Raul Ibanez decided to take it upon himself to score unassisted, which is I guess something that one can do in baseball.  He has as many ‘home runs’ in two games with the Royals as designated hitter Butler has in the past 55 games. 

If two days ago I told you that Hosmer only would do something one time in the rest of the series, you would probably not guess that it would be ‘making an out.’  Yes, Hosmer hit 4 singles yesterday with three walks today, adding an eighth-inning single to score Escobar and make it 4-0 Royals.  If it takes writing a critical column espousing a demotion in order to elicit this result, I will do it weekly. 

Greg Holland closed the game out in the ninth in his usual nonchalant way, finalizing the series victory against the Twins.  The Royals stand at 44-40, 4.5 games out of first place Detroit should they finish their sweep of Oakland; they are 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot should Seattle close out their game against Houston.  It’s an off day tomorrow, and then comes an important series against the Indians in the land of Cleve.  If the Royals sweep, the Indians would be a healthy 6 games behind.  Following that is a three game series against the (Devil) Rays in Tampa and a final 4 game series against Detroit at Kauffman.

This a crucial set of upcoming games, especially the septet versus AL Central teams, but for now we can enjoy a series win against Minnesota in Minnesota.

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