One year ago today the Royals scored 10 runs in the first inning against Cleveland, took a 10-1 lead into the top of the 2nd, and nevertheless eventually lost the game 15-13 in 10 innings. The next morning, yours truly would write a post with the moderate title of Contract This Team Now.
One of the more stunning things about that game was how quickly the Indians game back: when Travis Hafner stepped to the plate in the 6th inning, he represented the lead run. Remarkable. Even then, the Royals still had to blow a four-run lead in the 9th inning, which is no easy feat. (Box score here.)
So lets set the stage. In the bottom of the first inning, the Royals hit seven singles, a double, a triple and two home runs (Sweeney and Grudz) to take a 10-1 lead...
Facing Jorge de la Rosa, the Indians made it 10-3 in the third with back-to-back home runs from Aaron Boone and Grady Sizemore. In the 4th, they clawed to within 10-6, thanks to a double-single-single-walk-single-sac fly sequence fueled by Rosey and our beloved Todd Wellemeyer. Then in the 5th, the Indians tacked on another run thanks to a two-out walk by Peralta and a double by Hector Luna, again, off Welly. The very next inning, the 6th, saw the Tribe make it a 10-9 game, as a double-walk-strikeout-double sequence plated two as Welly and Gobble were mostly helpless against the onslaught.
In the bottom of the 6th, the game got even more interesting, as the Royals rallied back for what would seem like a game-ending brush back, scoring three runs and extending the lead back to 13-9. Against now fringe Cy Young candidate Fausto Carmona, the Royals went single-double-groundout-double-walk-balk-strikeout-single to net those three runs. Still, Grudz Ked with the bases loaded to end the inning, which would prove to be relevant later on.
After Joel Peralta worked a a scoreless top of the 7th, the Royals loaded the bases again with a Teahen walk, a Sweeney single and a Bako walko. Nevertheless, Andres Blanco struck out to end the inning, and we stayed at 13-9.
Peralta again worked a perfect 8th, as did new Indians pitcher and destroyer of our national innocence Rafael Betancourt, which setup Joe Nelson trying to protect a 13-9 lead in the 9th. After Jason Michaels struck out, Travis Hafner walked, Victor Martinez (13-10) and Ryan Garko doubled (13-11). Nelson then Ked Jhhhhhhhhhonny Peralta for out number two, but then surrendered another double to Luna, making it 13-12.
Buddisimo then turned to A. Burgos, who with two outs allowed a game tying triple to Shin Soo Choo, scoring Luna. Thankfully, Burgos then retired Boone to end the inning.
The Royals, of course, then went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th, as Teahen and Sweeney both struck out, and Emil -- I'm Nationwide -- Brown, popped out to first.
In the 10th, Sizemore was hit by a Burgos pitch to begin the inning, then bunted to second by Michaels. After an intentional walk to Hafner, Victor Martinez struck out swinging, leaving the inning in the hands of Ryan Garko. Garko singled to center to make it 14-13, and after a Peralta walk, Luna singled (he went 4-6) to make it 15-13. Finally, Choo struck out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 10th, Shealy singled to leadoff the game (I believe we all still loved him at this point). Thankfully, Bell PH for Bako, sending German into the game. But dammit to hell, German grounded out and PH Reggie Sanders (for Blanco) struck out. That left the game in the hands of Gathright, who also struck out, the 12th Royal K of the game.
Time of game: 4:00, before 12,671 stunned and horrified fans at the K.
The loss dropped the Royals to 46-82.
Here's the old RR Game Thread.
Hafner and Garko and Choo can't hurt us anymore, its OK. Now go back to bed. (Win expectancy graph by fangraphs.com)