The Royals finish their two game sweep of the Cleveland Indians by winning this afternoon’s game 4-1. It was a well-played game by the Royals featuring great pitching, defense, and timely hitting. No, not quite as exciting as last night, but a win is a win.
In the third inning, the Royals offense awoke. Leadoff man Moustakas worked a 3-1 count and then hammered a double to right-center. Moose went to third on Escobar’s bloop single, and Bourn’s throw to home allowed Escobar to advance to second. With two on in scoring position, Dyson hit a sac fly to center, which scored Moose. Aoki, surprisingly not falling down or getting hurt, singled to opposite field, placing runners at the corner with one out. With Infante up, he hit a towering pop-up to shortstop. Former Royal Mike Aviles stuck with the tricky play to make the out but fell down in the process. Like a Great White in the water smelling blood, Escobar sensed the weakness, tagging up and sprinting to home. That’s what speed do(es).
The Royals would continue the offense in the next inning. Perez dug a ball out from the lower part of the zone and blasted it into left-center field from a double. Moose worked out of an 0-2 count for a single, which advanced Perez to third. Escobar scored Perez with the Royals’ third sac fly on the day. Scoring runs with outs? GRIT.
Yordano Ventura, previously cruising through the Indians’ lineup, ran into a little trouble in the sixth. Michael Bourn bunted for a base hit and then red-hot Lonnie Chisenhall poked a single through the gap between third and short. After getting a line out and a fly out, Carlos Santana shot a single down the right field line, scoring Bourn for the Indians’ lone run and placing Chisenhall at third. However, Ventura induced a pop-up from David Murphey and he escaped the inning with minimal damage.
In the seventh inning, the Royals would threaten again. Infante singled on a soft fly ball to center field. Hosmer, apparently refusing to walk swinging at multiple balls clearly off the plate, did eventually single. Infante, running on the play, moved to third. Butler, also refusing to walk, flied out to center, grabbing an RBI and the Royals’ fourth sacrifice fly on the day. This matched a team record, right next to the other gritty records such as most sac bunts in one game (17, Chris Getz) and most angry looks to the opposing pitcher (147, Jason Kendall).
It looked like the Royals were going to be #Yosted in the 8th inning. Ned removed Ventura, who had only thrown 85 pitches, to put in Wade Davis. Davis had Bourn down in the count, but Bourn selfishly refused to swing at three straight nasty breaking pitches and singled up the middle. The on-fire Chisenhall then walked and Brantley singled on a sharply hit ball to center field which Dyson cut off quickly, thus loading the bases with no outs.
Dave Eiland then sauntered out to the mound, telling Davis to remember that he is Wade Davis and not Aaron Crow. Davis, relieved to hear of this fact, promptly struck out the next two batters and put final batter Murphey in a pitcher’s count. After some foul balls, Murphey took a defensive swing at a pitch and grounded to Infante for the final out of the inning. Holland slammed the door in the 9th—ballgame. Royals win, 4-1.
There were a number of factors to this game, but Ventura was a large one; his start was excellent. He pitched consistently in the mid to high 90s with excellent location, also locating his changeup pretty well. The Indians hacked quite a bit, striking out three times against Ventura without a walk. Overall, Ventura turned in a solid 7 inning performance that is exactly the sort of thing the Royals like to see, especially after his elbow scare a few weeks ago.
Escobar had a great game, going 3-3, scoring on the pop fly to short, and getting dunked on by his teammates in the postgame interview. Moose got 2 hits, Hosmer walked for the first time since the stone age, and Gordon made an amazing catch. After everything was said and done, the Royals improved to 33-32 and are 2.5 games out from Detroit in the AL Central and 1.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot. They look towards an off day tomorrow and then a seven game road trip against the White Sox and Tigers.
Winning is good, Kansas City. Keep it up.