At some point, a boiling pot will run over. On a cold night in Chicago, this was that game for the Kansas City Royals.
The rest of the game will be ignored by many, but the seventh inning will be discussed in the national circles for a long time. A brawl broke out in the seventh inning of a tied game with, yes, Yordano Ventura on the mound. Ventura fielded an Eaton ground ball cleanly, yelled what I could interpret as 'f*** you,' and threw him out at first base, though Eaton may have said something first after Ventura's initial staredown. Regardless, Eaton walked towards Ventura, benches cleared, resulting in Ventura, Lorenzo Cain, Edinson Volquez, Chris Sale, and Jeff Smardzija being ejected. Suspensions will be sure to follow.
KC and Chicago did play an actual baseball game though. Let's address that first.
Against Chicago All-Star lefty Chris Sale, the Royals struck immediately. Sale, usually so good against lefties, gave up a single to Mike Moustakas. Cain then singled before Eric Hosmer's walk to load the bases. Kendrys Morales, who has been brilliant in his opening stint with the Royals, scored Moustakas and Cain with a single. At 2-0 after one inning, the Royals were in a good position against an extremely tough pitcher.
Ventura, contrasting with Sale, opened the game extremely well with a quick 1-2-3 inning. Ventura continued to dominate, striking out the side in the second inning. A Ventura start isn't without its drama, after all, and Ventura scared Royals fans in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs, Micah Johnson hit a grounder to Hosmer. Hosmer threw over to Ventura, but Ventura missed the big and tangled his feet with Johnson, bringing both to the ground. The Royals' ace struggled with his command afterwards, but he returned no worse for the wear.
Ventura allowed a single run in each of the fourth and fifth innings (through an Alexei Ramirez single and a Jose Abreu double, respectively), but, as it has too often been recently, drama overshadowed the game. Ventura hit Abreu with a pitch in the fourth inning, which was pretty clearly an accident pitch. Sale then went up an in on Moustakas in the next inning, barely missing his jaw. The pitch didn't seem intentional to me, but circumstances were sketchy. Moose stayed in the game. Sale got out of the inning with no further damage.
Something happened in the middle of the seventh inning, according to Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler, and then all hell broke loose. Ventura fielded a ball and threw him out at first base. On route, Ventura stared Eaton down and they exchanged words; from the Fox Sports Kansas City angle it seemed as if Ventura spoke first, but Twitter sources suggest Eaton spoke first. As he neared first base, Eaton ran towards Ventura, unsuccessfully restrained by an official. Benches cleared. Blue and black shoved back and forth. Volquez threw a punch at a White Sox player and was restrained. Fans at US Cellular Field chanted 'KC sucks.' As Andy McCullough reported:
We have a fight.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) April 24, 2015
This is awful. Samardzija and Cain went at it.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) April 24, 2015
Emilio Bonifacio played the peacemaker during the fight. Kept Ventura and Herrera out of the fray.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) April 24, 2015
Samardzija charged Cain, missed and bowled over Mike Jirschele.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) April 24, 2015
If you recall, Samardzija plunked Cain on opening day immediately following a Moustakas home run. More batters were hit and warned during the series, and benches emptied, but nothing happened. Upon further review of the scrum, it seemed that the battle began in earnest once Cain and Samardzija began barking at each other.
Of course, the game must go on. And go on it did. To extras. Kelvin Herrera, who himself is appealing a suspension, squirmed out of a jam in the eighth inning. Jason 'Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs' Frasor took the ninth inning, escaping the ninth with minimal difficulty and a mere 9 pitches. Ryan Madson extricated himself from the 10th with men on second and third base.
The 11th and 12th innings came and went. Forward the Royals traveled. In the 13th inning, Moustakas got on base with an opposite field single. Jarrod Dyson, who replaced Cain following his ejection five innings earlier, got on to first with a fielder's choice. Eric Hosmer, Crime Horse, the Savior, yanked a double down the right field line. Dyson, who was stealing on the 2-2 pitch, raced around to score the first run by the KC baseball club in twelve excruciating innings. Thus, the Royals climbed ahead 3-2.
Ned Yost had been saving Wade Davis. And Wade Davis saved the Royals. With zero margin for error, the cyborg known as Wade Davis carved up the middle of the White Sox order like a delicious steak.
Whew. The Royals won 3-2.
Apart from the insanity that's going on, the past two games have highlighted issues with the Royals. The starting rotation is still a big question mark, as Jeremy Guthrie's ineffectiveness and Ventura's immaturity looms. The offense is also unlikely to continue its amazing streak; sometimes singles just don't come in bunches.
As far as the brawl? Look, I know that every fight is a two-way street. Samardzija kicked off a feud in the opening game, one in which the Royals willingly continued. Ventura's perceived slight with Trout and varied hit-by-pitches in that series was also not merely on the Royals. The recent A's/Royals fire was definitely stoked by both sides.
However, there is one common denominator in all these events: the Kansas City Royals. The Royals must own this. In the postgame interview with Joel Goldberg, Hosmer said that their emotions were getting the best of them. That is most certainly true.
Hold on to your butts, gentlemen and ladies. Three more games remain with the White Sox here in Chicago.