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The Royals Hang On To Defeat the Mariners, Maintain Hold on First Place

Wow. Whew. With nary a hard hit ball, the Mariners somehow "rallied" for a near epic comeback tonight, as the Royals held on 6-5. With two outs in the 9th, Chone Figgins hit a moderate line drive that was one of the better struck balls they had all night. That one ended the game. Baseball's weird.

The Royals made an easy win look ugly, but certainly we'll take it. Still, after that 9th inning, I'm not exactly setting off imaginary fireworks.

  • Yet again, the Mariners forced us to wonder: are the Royals pitching well or is this just what every Mariner game is like? Luke Hochevar turned in his best start of the season, as the BABIP fairy gently kissed him on the nose before the game, promising all would be fine. Hochevar allowed just one hit and two walks in seven innings. Hochevar got 12 groundballs and struck out 4. Who knows, maybe this really is a decent defensive infield. Then again, Hochevar is Tim Lincecum compared to what the bullpen managed.
  • Honest to God, I did not know Blake Wood was still in the organization. If, at 8:30 tonight, you had asked me, "who does Blake Wood pitch for?" I would have just gone with a default answer of "the Astros." In any case, Wood took a 6-1 game and made it much more dramatic.
  • Tim Collins picked up where Collins left off. Collins walked the only two men he faced and was pulled from the game. Tonight was Collins's seventh appearance of the young season. In general, I've liked how Yost has been aggressive in using Crow & Collins, but it may be time to start using Jeffress a little bit more.
  • And Soria finished off the meltdown. Miguel Olivo saved the Royals tonight. Saved them. With two men on and none out in the 9th, and Soria melting down himself, Olivo promptly turned in an absolutely terrible at bat, effectively ending the game. Olivo just gave the Royals an out. If Soria gets to face his former teammate enough, he might be able to post a decent Swinging Strike percentage! But seriously, congrats to Soria on one of the cheapest saves ever.
  • Soria looked awful. After a long layoff, too. I'm starting to get worried that something is truly not right.
  • Denny Matthews says "Ichiro" as if it has six syllables. About five batters prior to Ichiro batting in the 9th, Denny started talking about his looming presence. Sure enough, he came up with just one out and the game on the line. He grounded out weakly. So that means he's unclutch, right? Or do we only do that with certain guys? 
  • Jeff Francoeur (HR, 3 hits) and Billy Butler (3 hits) drove the offense, which also picked up random runs thanks to a Matt Treanor homer and some Aviles magic. When you consider Getz & Cabrera went 0-9 atop the order, it's a little surprising that the Royals produced six runs.
  • Mitch Maier got an arbitrary start tonight, for some reason, and produced two walks. I love me some MITCH, but not quite so much when he starts over Gordon. Nevertheless, we all know that Cabrera must play every day.
  • So the Royals are 9-4 and remain tied with the hated Indians. What world are we living in?