Greg Holland didn't look like Greg Holland in a shaky ninth inning, but managed to record the final out for his league-leading 37th save as the Royals defeated the Twins 6-5. The Twins jumped on the board in the third inning on a throwing error by Danny Duffy on a bunt by Danny Santana. It is Duffy's fourth error of the year, and the seventeenth error by a Royals pitcher this year, which seems like a lot. The Twins would get two runs in the inning to take a 2-0 lead, and knowing the kind of run support Danny Duffy has been getting this year, there was reason to worry.
But fear not, the HAM is WILLING. Josh Willingham, acquired a week ago from the Twins, drilled a three-run double down the line to give the Royals a 3-2 lead. After a Mike Moustakas infield single, Alcides Escobar would drill a two-run triple into right-centerfield to make it 5-2. The next three hitters all managed to strand Eskie, so I guess the clutch hitting tool has an "on/off switch", but no matter, the good guys were on top.
In the fourth, with runners at first and third, Salvador Perez appeared as if he might have picked off Trevor Plouffe at third. But he was ruled safe, and after a close but inconclusive replay in which it looked like Perez might have gotten him, Plouffe was allowed to stay. Of course, he went on to score to make it 5-3.
Alcides Escobar drove in another run on a bloop single to give the Royals a three-run cushion for the automatic bullpen. Wade Davis allowed a bloop double that was barely fair, just his second extra base-hit of the year, but left the inning scoreless.
Then came Greg Holland who has looked a bit shaky in his last few outings, and gave Royals fans an awful fright tonight. He walked Kurt Suzuki to open the inning, then gave up an RBI double to Oswaldo Arcia, who advanced to third on Lorenzo Cain's throwing error. Arcia would score on a Chris Parmelee ground out to make it a one-run game, but Holland struck out Danny Santana to end the game.
Royals win, Tigers lose, Royals have a 1.5 game lead. The Tigers would actually be out of the post-season if the season ended tonight.
MAGIC NUMBER: 41