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Omar Infante and the first-place Royals hold off Rockies 7 - 4

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Despite yet another late-inning near meltdown that required a Greg Holland bailout, the Royals improved to 70 - 55, maintaining a two-game lead on the Tigers, who won in extra innings tonight in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Omar comin'
Omar comin'
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

For the first six innings, the Royals of yore kept things close. They got a hit here and a walk there, managing a solitary run against opposing pitcher Tyler Matzek through the first six innings. Were the game to have ended there--with James Shields having allowed two runs of his own, one on a go-ahead Nolan Arenado solo dong hanging in the fifth--the Royals would have lost.

As has been the case for the past month or so, the Royals ended up doing what needed to be done to secure the win.

In the seventh inning, the Royals offense ceded two quick outs on six pitches with Mike Moustakas grounding out on the first pitch he saw (because why not continue to put the first pitch in play while you're slashing .086/.083/.143 on 0 - 0 counts?) and Alcides Escobar striking out swinging. Then Josh Willingham got the rally started. The Ham worked a two-out single, and Norichika Aoki followed by earning a full-count walk after digging into an 0 - 2 hole.

The Rockies went to the pen at this point, pulling Adam Ottavino into the fray, who instantly yielded two doubles--one to Omar Infante and one to Salvador Perez--before striking out Billy Butler. Of course, the three runs that scored put the Royals up 4 - 2.

After digging finding themselves in another two-out hole in the eighth, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Jarrod Dyson, Christian Colon, and Omar Infante combined to add three more runs to the Royals' total.

These three additional runs proved to matter once again, as the scrubs of the Royals bullpen--this time Francisely Bueno played the part of Aaron Crow--let the opposition back into the ballgame.

After getting Matt McBride to fly out to center, Bueno plunked Charlie Blackmon. Then he served up a dong shot to Drew Stubbs, letting the Rockies close to a 7 - 4 deficit. After inducing a Justin Morneau ground out to short, Nolan Arenado hit a classic Scott Podsednik swinging bunt that Salvador Perez fielded and then airmailed the throw to first, sending Nolan Arenado to second on the errant throw.

For the second straight night, this meant that Greg Holland had to come in and clean up the mess of a non-Herrera/-Davis arm. Holland got the one-out save, and the Royals won the game, but the recent struggles of the lesser bullpen arms certainly make one anxious for the days when the pen seemed to be seven stable arms deep.

For his part, James Shields was solid if short of dominant. Shields went six innings, allowing nine hits, one walk, and another hit-by-pitch (Blackmon was the unlucky sod both times) while striking out just six en route to giving up two earned runs.

The Royals offensive attack came largely from Omar Infante, who went 4-for-5 with three doubles, one run scored, and four RBIs.

Also, while the Royals were trailing 2 - 1, Norichika Aoki was thrown out attempting to steal third with two outs. Do what you'd like with that information. If the Royals lost by one run, we would certainly all be apoplectic.

The Royals clearly won this won for Ned Yost, who celebrated his 60th birthday. The Royals are now 70 - 55. This is the first time they've been 15 games over .500 since they were 18 - 11. Never forget.

They've only lost five of their last 26 27 games. Y'all need to hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband, 'cause they're beating everyone out here.