The Royals got two bunt singles and the Yankees two infield singles in the first two innings Thursday afternoon. Then the game got weird.
Ervin Santana struggled with his control and with Doug Eddings' lava lamp like strike zone. It was easily Ervin's worst start as a Royal. It was worse than what Wade Davis displayed the previous night.
A hopeful three run first by the Royals was waylaid by a four run Yankee fifth where once more Lyle Overbay hit a crushing blow. Sorry I made fun of your name in the recap last night, Lyle. It was the culmination of a horrid fifth that saw Santana walk three (one intentional) and just basically look lost.
That inning, apparently, was not enough to convince Ned Yost that his starter might be done as he sent his pitcher back to the mound for the sixth inning for reasons not apparent to this writer. Another run scored, partially from Santana allowing two singles (thanks Miguel Tejeda for the stellar defense at third) and Alcides Escobar fumbling a grounder that could have prevented run number eight. Of course, Captain Derek Jeter hit the groundball, so I am certain Jeter intentionally imparted super secret special spin on that grounder that flumoxed the mere mortal Royal shortstop.
The Royals made things quasi-exciting in the top of the sixth when Johnny Giavotella drove a ball to the left field wall that was caught and Alex Gordon (after yet another David Lough hit) drove a ball to the deepest of deep center only to see Ichiro make an outstanding catch. Alcides Escobar, forever destined to bat second, struck out to the end the inning.
We did our first major league look at lefty reliever Donnie Joseph who participated in a very representative inning for this particular contest. Joseph got Vernon Wells to fly out, then gave up a walk and a bloop single. He was relieved by Louis Coleman who uncorked a wild pitch, but then struck out two batters to run his string to five strikeouts in a row. The side-arming right hander would go on to strike out the first batters of the eighth as well to make it seven in a row.
This contest was littered with infield hits, bloop hits and both good and bad defense (Johnny Giavotella had a nice day in the field...really). The teams combined for 21 hits, a hit batter, a couple of wild pitches, a couple of errors and five walks. Fittingly, it ended with Billy Butler flying out to the warning track in center.
This series ended on a sour note after hopeful beginnings and the Royals now move onto Cleveland for three games before the All-Star Break. After the break, Kansas City has a three game series at home against Detroit. By the end of that series, I would think Dayton Moore will have decided if he is going to be a buyer or a seller at the trade deadline.