After dropping the "first game" today when the resumption of their August 31st match-up resulted in the seemingly inevitable extra-innings loss for the Royals, Kansas City mustered barely enough offense to defeat the Cleveland Racists.
Monday's full tilt between the Racists and Royals was every bit the low-scoring affair one would expect given the match-up between starters Carlos Carrasco and Danny Duffy. Both Clevelander and Kansas City's batters had difficulty getting good wood on Duffy and Carrasco's offerings.
Making his first start since September 6th, Duffy had control issues early, going so far as to load the bases in the first care of a Michael Bourn walk, a Jose Ramirez bloop single, and a Michael Brantley infield single to load the bases with no outs before Duffy escaped with no damage done thanks to a pop out, backwards K, and fly out in quick succession. After walking Chisenhall to start the second, Duffy calmed down and began cruising like Al Pacino. He conceded singles in three of the next four innings but allowed no other base-runners and handed the shutout over to the combo of Brandon Finnegan, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland. Along the way, Duffy struck out five, walked two, induced four pop-ups (if including Michael Bourn's pop foul), and allowed seven hits but no runs.
For his part, Carrasco was dominant. The Royals managed just eight base-runners off of the right-handed flame thrower over his 7.1 innings of work, one by way of an uncharacteristic walk issued to Mike Moustakas, six coming via singles, and one presenting itself in the form of an Omar Infante double. Carrasco struck out nine along the way, but his efforts were ultimately undone by his infield defense.
The Royals scored their first run in the top of the first. After Alcides Escobar struck out to unceremoniously kick off the game, Norichika Aoki singled to left-center. Cain followed with a strike out all his own. Aoki followed with a steal of second base, and then Eric Hosmer poked a liner right at Racists' first baseman Chris Gimenez, who stabbed at the ball--which should have been caught--only to have it glance off his glove and into foul territory up the right field line. Aoki came across to score easily, and Billy Butler followed with a single to put runners at first and second before Carrasco escaped from the inning by getting Alex Gordon to ground out to end the inning.
With three of the Royals seven hits off Carrasco coming in the first, Carrasco was pretty much lights out until the fifth when Omar Infante doubled to lead off the inning. Moustakas came up next and grounded out to second but advanced Infante to third in the process. With the Royals' second run just 90 feet away from home plate, Alcides Escobar stepped to the plate and ripped a screaming grounder right at his Cleveland counterpart Jose Ramirez. Ramirez got a glove on the short-hop, but it came up hot and caromed off his glove and into shallow left-center. Escobar reached easily--though again, the Royals' base-runner should have been out--and Infante waltzed across for Kansas City's second run of the night.
Infante was unlikely to score on contact, as he was waiting for Ramirez to field the ball. These two runs were all that the Royals would need tonight.
Were it not for the
Indians Racists' infielders, this game could still be going on. Instead, the Royals came out with one win today.
With the Tigers having lost to Chris "The Hound" Bassitt and the Pale Hoes at home, the Royals trail the Tigers by a single game and the specter of the suspended game no longer looming. Six games left.
Less than one good week.