The Kansas City Royals won their final regular season game in 2014, defeating the Chicago White Sox 6-4 at U.S. Cellular Field. For the first time in 29 years, however, this doesn't mark the end of baseball in Kansas City for the year; the Royals will host the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday in the Wild Card Game.
The Royals had a chance to force a Game 163 with the Detroit Tigers coming into today's game. The Tigers, however, took care of business on their end, defeating the Minnesota Twins 3-0 to clinch their fourth straight AL Central Crown.
The Tigers and Twins started their game an hour before the Royals and White Sox, so Kansas City started the game with their regulars in the lineup. The Royals jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the second. Billy Butler hit a leadoff double, then Alex Gordon followed with a double of his own. Butler didn't score on Gordon's double, because of course he didn't, but Salvador Perez plated Butler with a sacrifice fly. Mike Moustakas drove in the second Royals run of the game with a two-out double against Chris Bassitt.
Chicago ended up tying the game in the bottom of the third. Dayan Viciedo cracked a leadoff single, then Marcus Semien lifted a Yordano Ventura offering over the left field wall for a two-run homer.
The White Sox took the lead in the next inning. Viciedo again hit a leadoff single, then Josh Phegley smoked a double down the left field line, plating Viciedo. Phegley helped the Kansas City cause by running into an out at home later in the inning, but Chicago still ended up loading the bases. Semien worked a walk against Ventura with the bases full, forcing in Carlos Sanchez.
Ventura only worked four innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. He didn't look particularly sharp, but still managed to induce six strikeouts. The rookie right-hander turned in an impressive 2014 campaign, and will hopefully help this team in the postseason.
Ned Yost found out about the Tigers victory in the fifth inning and made the wise decision to remove all of his starters from the game. The backups ended up leading the comeback in the sixth. Raul Ibanez worked a leadoff walk, advancing to second base on a Johnny Giavotella single.
Christian Colon tied the game with a double to right-center, driving in Ibanez and Giavotella. Colon scored the go-ahead run later in the inning on a Carlos Peguero single.
The Royals added another run against the White Sox in the eighth, mostly thanks to terrible pitching from Scott Carroll. Terrance Gore was hit by a pitch in the knee during the frame, which was terrifying for a brief moment, but he appeared unhurt.
Casey Coleman, Aaron Crow, Liam Hendricks, Tim Collins and Louis Coleman each pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Ventura. HDH should be rested and ready to go on Tuesday.
The Royals have Monday off, but will host a "rally for the fans" at Kauffman Staidum tomorrow at 11:30 am ET. Then, Tuesday night at 7:07 CT:
James Shields. Jon Lester. Kauffman Stadium. Tuesday night. See you there.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) September 28, 2014
I can't wait.