For the first 17 outs of this ballgame, the Royals' collective performance at the plate could have been spliced into A Clockwork Orange and substituted for the ultra-violent films that Alex is forced to watch when he volunteers to be subjected the Ludovico technique. Children throughout the heartland had their eyes shielded by watchful parents as the Royals threatened to extend their losing streak to three games with those parents not wanting their kids to have their hopes and dreams crushed at too ripe an age. Through 5.2 innings, Alex Cobb dominated the hometown Royals, allowing scattered singles to Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, and Elliot Johnson. He lived on the edges of the strike zone, his balls dancing, nay flaunting themselves in the faces of mystified Royals batsmen who swung or failed to swing at his wily offerings to the same end--being sent back to the dugout, head hung down.
Then with one out to go in the bottom of the sixth, the Royals offense exploded. Down 2 - 0 with ten outs left in the game, the Royals proceeded to score eight unanswered runs, not even needing their last three outs to win the game. The two-out rally in the sixth started with a beautiful gap-double off the base of the wall in left-center field. He was promptly driven in by a Lorenzo Cain single, plating the first Royals run. With a mighty swing of his rippling Grecian arms, Mike Moustakas erupted with a thunderous roar, depositing a pitched ball into the bullpen with rapacity, a dong hanging of the most righteous variety. Jeff Francoeur doubled and was thusly driven in by a Perez single. Johnson followed with another single before the ninth Royals batter of the inning finally became the third out of the inning facing the new pitcher but familiar face, Jamey Wright.
Up 4 - 2, the Royals sent another seven batters to the plate in the seventh inning, plating another three runs on new reliever Brandon Gomes. Alcides Escobar singled and stole second to start the inning. Following a Billy Butler strikeout, Eric Hosmer was intentionally walked to get to Lorenzo Cain, who singled to load the bases. Moustakas hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Escobar and move Hosmer to third. Then Hosmer scored as Jose Molina airmailed a throw to center field on a Lorenzo Cain stolen base attempt, leading many in attendance to wonder if Christopher Lloyd and his angelic pals might not be on the field at Kauffman Stadium, helping the desperate Royals. A Francoeur triple (that Ben Zobrist played poorly off the wall, lending more credence to the murmurs of there being angels in the outfield) scored Cain before the Rays finally got Perez swinging. The damage was done though, with the Royals holding a 7 - 2 lead that they would tack another run to in the eighth.
For his part, James Shields struggled mightily in the first inning, laboring through the inning while allowing two runs via a Matt Joyce two-run shot. While he cruised from then on, it would seem that this whole ceding the lead early and then hoping that the offense stages a comeback in his support is likely not sustainable given the bipolar nature of this offense. There are likely more prudent of ways of courting victory. Shields struck out seven, walked one, and allowed just five hits, though one was a no-doubter to give the lead up in the first inning for the third time in six of his starts.
Mike Moustakas went 2 - 3, with a single, majestic dong, a sacrifice fly, and three runs batted in.