The Kansas City Royals offense looked overmatched once again against Madison Bumgarner, getting shutout by the lefty as the team lost 5-0 against the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants scored their two runs against James Shields in very Royals fashion, and received aid from the Royals defense. Hunter Pence led off the bottom of the second with a soft single that just slipped by Alcides Escobar. Brandon Belt followed with a bunt single; the Royals had the lefty shift on, and Belt just barely beat out the throw.
Travis Ishikawa moved the two tunners with a deep flyball to centerfield. Brandon Crawford then plated Pence with a groundball to Omar Infate. The Royals infield was aligned at normal depth on the play, understandbly willing to trade an out for a run early in the game.
San Francisco's second run came in the the fourth. Pablo Sandoval led off the frame with a single, but Shields recovered, striking out Pence and Belt. Ishikawa then hit a sharp groundball towards Escobar; it wasn't an easy play for the shortstop, as he was moving towards the hole between shortstop and third base. Escobar still should have made the play, but he pulled his glove up too early, missing the ball. The official scorer generously ruled the play a hit, which put two runners on base with two outs.
Crawford followed with a single up the middle. Jarrod Dyson would've had a chance to throw out Sandoval at home if he fielded the ball cleanly; Sandoval isn't known for his speed and hesistated around third base. Dyson, however, booted the ball around, allowing the Panda to score easily.
The Royals defense has been so good this postseason, making it an unfamiliar type of disheartning to see them struggle. The lack of offense, however, we've seen before.
Kansas City's bats were absolutely lifeless against Bumgarner.The Royals mustered four hits against the southpaw, and you can count on your fingers the number of quality swings they had all night. Omar Infante's "double" was the only extra base hit in the game, and it came on a flyball that Alex Gordon catches, but Ishikawa dives and misses.
Bumgarner struck out eight, including six with runners on base. He needed 117 pitches to record 27 outs, and his stuff looked just as impressive in the ninth as it did in the first. His start is among the most impressive pitching performances I have ever seen, especially considering the stage.
Shields couldn't quite match Bumgarner but turned in a quality start himself, allowing two runs on eight hits over six innings. The right-hander struck out four, and his pitches looked much better tonight than they did earlier in the postseason.
The Giants tacked on three insurance runs in the eighth inning, making Bruce Bochy's decision with Bumgarner a lot easier. Kelvin Herrera, who pitched a scoreless seventh in relief of Shields, surrendered consecutive singles to Sandoval and Pence to start the inning. Ned Yost brought in Wade Davis, who surrendered a one-out double to Juan Perez, which plated both runners. Crawford followed with a single, driving in Perez for the Giants fifth and final run of the night.
If hating Billy Butler is your thing, you're probably screaming about his pinch-hit at bat where he stuck out on three pitches. If hating Ned Yost is your thing, you're probably banging your head against a wall becaue Yost performed a double switch that brought Jayson Nix to the plate, instead of literally any other hitter on the roster.
The Royals and Giants return to Kansas City on Tuesday with the Giants leading the series 3-2. Yordano Ventura will start for Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium, facing off against Jake Peavy. It will not be an easy task for the Royals to comeback and win the final two games of the series, but they have been on the ropes earlier this season and this postseason and came roaring back, so we know they can still pull this off. The last time Kauffman Stadium hosted Game Six of the World Series, things turned out OK for the home team.