Cardinals 7, Royals 6
This one hurts.
The mental game we each played with ourselves ended in the familiar way, as our pretended pessimism masking our actually secret hopes ended in a loss. We know the pose at this point, to exclaim that we knew this was the only way. Only, had we really known, we'd already be in bed right now, in the middle of a dream, or perhaps something better, and not where we are now, in the nowhere land this team so frequently transports us to.
A game this long could have ended so many different times, in so many different ways, its difficult to know exactly what to even bemoan. Most simply, the Royals just lost a game which featured their #1 starter facing off against Todd Wellemeyer.
As expected -- or was that only a pose --, the Cardinals vulture in for a 3-3 I-70 Series split. Even more cruelly, they'll probably quickly remind us that they actually don't even care.
Of course, the Royals blew the game in the 9th, setting off five innings of Cardinal pressure. Only a Ryan Ludwick homer could finally end it, as it was clear that the Cardinal lineup had too many holes to score in any other way. Ludwick's homer came only moments after the Royals stranded David DeJesus at third base with one out.
That was essentially KC's only extra inning action, aside from Butler and Gordon both coming up just short of dead-centerfield bombs. While the Cardinals continually put the winning run on base, the Royals made fringe major leaguers look like All-Stars for four innings, that is, until DeJesus ripped a one-out triple in the 14th. Still, Costa and Buck couldn't bring him in. This was especially cruel considering tonight was the first evening that John Buck was rewarded with a non-remedial slot in the lineup, and he promptly responded with an 0-6 night.
That mini-meltdown allowed the Cardinals to sneak away with a victory in a game in which they committed four errors, had the winning run picked off second and thrown out at third, led off an inning with a pitcher pinch hitting for a pitcher, and were left trusting their fate to Kip Wells, arguably the worst pitcher in baseball this season.
The Royals lost to Todd Wellemeyer and Kip Wells, in the same game! As Larkin said in "Sad Steps", "theres something laughable about this".
The sad thing is that all the good things that happened tonight -- gutty pitching from Peralta and Riske, the priceless pickoff (and TLR reaction) of So Tachuci in the 10th, a four hit game by Gordon -- somehow seems sour because the Royals succumbed nevertheless.
The game as expressed through numbers:
(See fangraphs.com for an explanation.)