Thanks to the heroics of Paul Bako (bring back the GW-RBI stat!!) and some nice pitching from the Royals, Kansas City notched win # 6 last night. Hopefully, the team can shake off its early season funk and string some wins together. Maybe the strange rumor/non-rumor about Buddisimo resigning will change its status... maybe Bell wants to go out a winner. Who knows.
So did the Royals pitch well, or are the Twins just that inept? Now thats a tough call. After some early scuffling, the Royals never even really came close to allowing the tying run, and the gamne cruised by at a 2:33. Of course, this being the Royals, victory # 6 also had to feature the possible injury of Reggie Sanders.
Still, Affeldt battled through some control issues to post a nice enough line (5.0 IP 0ER, 3H, 2K), although also one that doesn't exactly point to future success. Unless Affeldt was wasting numerous pitches because he knew the Twins couldn't/wouldn't punish him, against a competent offensive team those 6 walks are gonna be mixed in alongside more singles and (gasp) extra base hits. Still, its another solid start from Affy, who's now whittled his ERA down to 4.94.
But lets focus on Bako's awesome 2nd inning at bat. The stage was set with a leadoff double from the undead Emil Brown (.233/.310/.349 ... and we re-signed this guy) which sent shockwaves across the upper midwest. Brown's double was followed by a pop-out by Doug Mientkiewicz, who remains the most cherished member of the lineup by Buddisimo. Because Doug used to play in Minnesota, he knew popping the ball up is a smart play, because theres like a 5% chance the ball will be lost in the roof. Great idea Doug.
From there, Angel Berroa grounded out to third, which was also a good play that just didn't work out, because the ball can always bounce weird on that turf. And Berroa knew that.
So then stepped up Paul Bako, who entered the game hitting .083/.120/.083. Amazingly, that doesn't look so bad considering Buck is hitting .180/.250/.280. Paul Bako knew what had to be done, and he knew he would do it. Anyone who's first name is Gabor is gonna be clutch. Hell, in 31 postseason at bats he's hit an incredible .167/.333/.500 (seriously, he's slugged .500 in the postseason? this guy has 1 homer since 2002.
After Bako's game winning single, the rest of the game was a fait accompli. Game over. Period. You don't give the Royals a lead with 8 innings to play and expect to escape.