While Salvador Perez did leave tonight's game with right knee discomfort, the Royals did end up closing out the 3 - 1 series victory over Minnesota in what should have been emphatic fashion were it not for an Aaron Crow meltdown in the ninth.
It took the Royals offense four innings to figure out Trevor May. Earlier this season, this would have put Royals fans on edge, assuming the worst when facing a pedestrian opposing pitcher. Lately, however, this is not the case.
After four sluggish innings in which the Royals offense built up Trevor May's confidence, they pounced on him in the fifth, racking up three runs quickly, as Alcides Escobar and Jarrod Dyson struck at May's Achilles heel, drawing consecutive one-out walks and setting the table for a big inning. Norichika Aoki advanced them to second and third on a ground out to second before May issued another walk to Omar Infante. With three aboard, Salvador Perez hit a soft liner to center plating the speedy duo of Escobar and Dyson with ease. Billy Butler followed with an RBI single of his own, and Alex Gordon singled to load the bases for the second time in the inning.
That was the end of May's evening. Reliever Anthony Swarzak got Josh Willingham to strike out to end the inning, but the Royals walked out of the inning having been spotted a three-run lead, each run scored by a runner who drew a walk.
The next Royals run came from the bat of surprise sub, Erik Kratz. In just his 12th plate appearance since joining the Royals, Erik Kratz stepped to the plate and hanged dong rather gloriously, extending the Royals lead to 4 - 0. Of course, Kratz entered the ballgame without warning, and Royals fans were left in limbo waiting to hear why Perez was no longer in the game.
Oswaldo Arcia hanged a solo dong of his own in the home half of the seventh, slicing the Royals' lead to 4 - 1 and ending a 17-inning scoreless streak for Royals starter Jason Vargas.
Jarrod Dyson added an RBI single in the eighth, plating recent Twin Josh Willingham.
Putting our collective concerns to rest for at least a little bit, Erik Kratz shockingly went a-dong-hangin' again in the ninth, again of the solo variety.
After Wade Davis--who was warming up before Jarrod Dyson added a fourth insurance run in the eighth--sent down the Twins in the eighth, Ned Yost turned to Aaron Crow to close out the 6 - 1 game.
Aaron Crow got the first batter he faced out, getting Joe Mauer to fly out to left, before completely imploding. Crow ceded consecutive singles, the second of the infield variety, before letting Trevor Plouffe hang dong all over him. The blast plated three runs and necessitated a Yost trip to the mound. Two Greg Holland outs later, the Royals secured the 6 - 4 win, clinching the series victory, and extending their division lead to a full two games with Detroit traveling today.
While we wait with worry permeating our every breath while hoping that Salvador Perez is back quickly, at least we can fall asleep tonight with visions of Kratz dongs each time up.