The Royals had Wednesday afternoon's game well in hand before Alex Gordon blasted a three run home run in the fifth inning, but damn, it's nice to have a home run in the books.
After leaving baserunners here, there and everywhere on Tuesday night, Kansas City notched ten hits and a walk in five innings against Rays' starter Jake Odorizzi, gave away two outs on the bases and still scored seven runs against the former Royals' prospect. We can probably forgive the baserunning outs as it appeared that Alex Gordon was safe at third even though the call was confirmed as 'out' after Ned Yost's challenge and the second out was Alcides Escobar getting picked off first. That was, by my rough estimation, Escobar's first caught stealing/pick off since the last eclipse.
Jeremy Guthrie, who has received more run support in this two starts than in all of the other games combined, was who we thought he was: solid, unspectacular, a lot of balls in play and a lot of defensive plays behind him. Lorenzo Cain continues to make tracking down fly balls seem effortless, while Alcides Escobar is staking an early claim to a Gold Glove at shortstop (at least that's what my eyes tell me and I've been down on the dirt...that one time). Escobar made two, maybe three, plays that were truly outstanding.
Honestly, Guthrie was better than solid today. He retired 12 straight before leaving after seven innings of work that featured four strikeouts, just one walk and the only blemish being a Desmond Jennings solo home run. We don't much care for Jeremy's contract, but outings like today make it considerably more tolerable.
To add to the fun, we also saw the illusive beast known as a five-six-three double play, a Nori Aoki triple pulled down the right-field line and Johnny Giavotella getting a hit AND an RBIIIIIII. Hey, I told you that you should have found a reason not to work this afternoon.
The only blip on the radar was a rocky and uninspiring ninth inning by Kelvin Herrera who allowed two runs before Alcides Escobar, fittingly, ended the game with a fine defensive play. No reason to make a whole of this as relievers who spend most of their time in high pressure situations have a tendency to be less than sharp when entering games with a six run lead. Just file it away for future reference or, given how bright the sun is shining today, forget it and revel in the moment.
Going forward, the Royals get a travel day tomorrow, three games in Minnesota, another off day, three games at Houston and then three back in KC against the Twins. It is early, too early to either panic, feel good or look forward, but this would appear to be a stretch where a team that thinks it is a contender notches a majority of wins.