I'm still uncomfortable having a Kansas City sports team be fun to watch to the point of winning a fiery, crazy game. #royals
— Joshua Brisco (@jbbrisco) April 19, 2015
In the season's first 10 games, Royals players were hit by a whopping 14 pitches. None of those pitchers were ejected, including Oakland's Scott Kazmir, who spiked a fastball right to the foot of Lorenzo Cain in the first inning Sunday. The benches were warned, and home plate umpire Greg Gibson quickly ejected both Royals manager Ned Yost and pitching coach Greg Eiland.
People had speculated that yet another retaliation could take place; last night, Yordano Ventura threw at Brett Lawrie after giving up a three-run bomb. Ventura was ejected immediately, but no further conflicts occurred throughout Saturday night's game. The event that initiated original conflict was when Lawrie slid high in attempt to break up a double play back on Friday, which injured Alcides Escobar and made both benches sprint onto the field.
As for the game on Sunday, Royals starter Danny Duffy lacked command, walking five of the first 12 batters he faced. It took him 93 pitches to get through just five innings. He allowed two runs, both of which were RBI singles by Ben Zobrist. When the Royals came up to bat in the bottom of the fifth, Duffy's day was done after five innings, allowing four hits, five walks, and five strikeouts.
Yost's "B-Team" lineup without Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, and Alcides Escobar yielded just one hit through the first four innings, but when Omar Infante opened the fifth with a double, it gave Kansas City its first scoring threat of the day. Unfortunately, Infante would become the latest Royal to leave a game injured when he tweaked his groin on a Christian Colon infield single. He was replaced by pinch runner Orlando Calixte, who made his major league debut by scoring the Royals' first run on a Jarrod Dyson groundout. After five frames, the Royals trailed 2-1.
Tensions flared up again in the eighth inning when Lawrie stepped into the batter's box again. Kelvin Herrera fired a 100 mph fastball behind the A's third baseman, and the umpiring crew went into "we're the reason everybody is watching the game" mode again. Herrera was tossed, Escobar was tossed from the dugout, and bench coach Don Wakamatsu, who was acting as manager following the ejection of Yost, was also thrown out of the game. Somebody will have to check the history book, but Wakamatsu's seven innings spent as an MLB major this year have got to be some sort of record. Royals pitchers have hit just one batter in 11 games, and six ejections have followed as a result. Hot takes were posted all over Twitter about the maturity of the Royals and the handling of the umpires, but I'll use my own tweet to sum up the frustrations of Royals fans:
Royals were hit first. Royals have not hit an A's batter, the A's have hit a Royal. Five Royals ejected. Zero A's. Seems fair. Nice job @MLB
— Ryan Landreth (@ryan_landreth) April 19, 2015
Franklin Morales (1-0) entered the game following the abrupt departure of Herrera, and he got Lawrie to pop up and end the eighth. He threw just two pitches and wound up earning his first career win.
Scott Kazmir had cruised through seven frames, shutting down the Royals with a fantastic blend of fastballs and off-speed pitches. It's pretty miraculous how in control he was considering the completely accidental plunking of Cain. Oh, what's that, I forgot to turn my sarcasm font off?
Rookie Paulo Orlando opened the home half of the eighth by drawing a walk, and Mike Moustakas advanced him to second base on a groundout. A's manager Bob Melvin immediately pulled Kazmir after his 103rd pitch of the afternoon; he allowed six hits in 7.1 innings while striking out five. Reliever Eric O'Flaherty was thrust into the game to face Lorenzo Cain, and the results did not go as planned for Oakland. Cain launched a double past the glove of the diving left fielder to tie the game, and following a walk of Eric Hosmer, Kendrys Morales stepped in and immediately fell behind 0-2. He laid off countless sliders down and away to run the count full, and on the seventh pitch of the at bat, he got the pitch he had been looking for. Morales crushed a fastball right down the pipe to the wall in center field, plating two runs to put the Royals ahead 4-2. Kauffman was alive, A's spirits were crushed, and the Royals showed what they've displayed all year - guts, fire, and heart.
Wade Davis blew through the ninth inning to earn his second save of the year. He needed 18 pitches to strike out two batters and maintain his 0.00 ERA on the season.
36,755 fans came through the turn-styles of Kauffman Stadium, and over 108,000 attended the three-game series over the weekend. After being blanked last night, the Royals' offense slept through the first seven innings, plating just one run on a groundout. Following all of the ejections and chaos on the field, the fans were just waiting to explode, as Ryan Lefebrve said about 45 time throughout the course of the broadcast.
The home stand continues for the Royals tomorrow when they welcome in the Minnesota Twins for a three-game set. Kyle Gibson (1-1, 6.10 ERA) brings some numbers into the start that may excite Kansas City fans, but it's worth mentioning that he's 4-0 in four career starts against the Royals. Edinson Volquez (1-1, 2.30) will oppose him for the Royals in a rematch of last Wednesday night's pitching matchup.
"This team is dangerous." - Rex Hudler. He's right. The Royals are 9-3 on the season and kept pace with Detroit, who clobbered Chicago earlier in the day to stay a game ahead of Kansas City at 10-2.
BONUS HOT TAKES: Here's the currently injured A's closer Sean Doolittle's take on the game:
— Sean Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) April 19, 2015
When your team has lost seven of its last eight against the Royals, that just doesn't seem like a good time to call them out. But hey, it's not like he blew the save in the most incredible playoff game of all time, right?
BONUS SUPER-AWESOME VIDEO: Ned Yost didn't choose the thug life, the thug life chose Ned Yost: