The Royals continued their mastery of the Oakland A's, breaking a 4-4 tie in the eighth inning on an RBI triple by Paulo Orlando to win 6-4. The Royals drew just one walk and had just two extra-base hits, but collected fifteen hits off three Athletics pitchers with every starter but Alcides Escobar collecting a hit.
In the middle innings, the two franchises set perfect examples of their contrasting organizational philosophies. In the bottom of the third, the Royals launched the singles train. With two outs, Lorenzo Cain singled and stole second, followed by a bloop single to left by Eric Hosmer, one of three Hosmer hits that were blessed by the BABIP fairy. Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez followed up with RBI singles, to give the Royals a 3-1 lead.
But Jeremy Guthrie is still pitching. The home run-prone pitcher promptly gave up the lead in the fourth, allowing back-to-back solo home runs to Ike Davis and Stephen Vogt to tie the game 3-3. Guthrie would gut his way through six innings, although Ned Yost again left him in a batter or two too long. After an Omar Infante RBI single in the sixth to give the Royals the lead, Guthrie gave up another solo home run to Vogt to tie the game again at 4-4. Ned probably considered bringing in Yordano Ventura for a relief appearance (hey, gotta follow the Wild Card formula, right?) but opted instead to go with Kelvin Herrera, who shut things down in the seventh, but not before a controversial play at second base.
On a Josh Reddick ground ball, Brett Lawrie, running from first base, appeared to slide hard into second base with spikes up, taking out Alcides Escobar in a gruesome-looking injury. Lawrie may have been safe as well, but an A's challenge was denied upon replay. Escobar left the game with what the Royals later revealed as a "mild contusion" and is considered day-to-day.
Spikes high. Not clean. Bad slide. https://t.co/AKz1ug2Kly— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 18, 2015
In the eighth, Kansas City summoned their Royals Devil Magic which works so effectively against the A's. Salvador Perez led off with a single off reliever Dan Otero, and was lifted for pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson (wake up Erik Kratz! You're going in!) Paulo Orlando, King of the Triples, laced a ball into the gap in right-center that rolled all the way to the wall for his fourth triple of the year in five hits. Orlando would later score on an Omar Infante sacrifice fly to give the Royals a 6-4 lead they would hold onto.
The Royals are back to the recipe that found them so much post-season success and enrages so many Oakland Athletics fans. Bleeps, blorps, bloops, steals, speed, defense, and shutdown relievers. Sprinkle in a little Royals Devil Magic and 39,000 screaming fans, and you've got a fun night at the ballpark.