Coming into one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball, the possibility of Chris Young going through a rough start similar to the one at Yankee Stadium a few weeks back was a real one. Fortunately for Chris Young and the Royals, he cruised through the lineup time after time with nary a hiccup.
As he is wont to do, Young befuddled Milwaukee batters with his peculiar brand of frustrating pitch-to-contact baseball, inducing weak contact like he and his Invisi-ball™ were supernaturally forged to do. Watching the gigantic Princetonian pitch is hardly sexy, as his extreme position on the outlier spectrum simply does not call for songs of adulation to be penned in his honor. With the Royals rotation in its present, vexing state, however, Chris Young's performance both tonight and thus far this season has been a delight.
Facing a down-and-out Milwaukee squad, Young made quick work of the lot of them, sending them down in order in the first, second, fourth, and fifth innings. The Brew Crew got runners into scoring position against Cy in the third and seventh innings, but with some unholy amalgam of chicanery, voodoo, and wizardry, Young escaped from each minor jam completely unscathed. That Young only struck out three Brewers was immaterial; they put his precisely placed offerings into play--mostly aloft--and as though the result was etched in stone eons ago, a Royal defender was there to see each meekly struck ball into his glove. Young allowed just five Milwaukee batsmen to reach base, four singles and an Aramis Ramirez double. None of them would cross the plate while he remained in the game.
Where the certainty of the involvement of dark arts comes into play was in Chris Young's performance at the plate. The 6'10" righty amassed two hits this strange evening. With these two base-hits, he became the first Royals pitcher since before the designated hitter came into existence (Steve Busby, 1972) to drive in three runs. It was as though the ghost of Emil Brown stepped into the body of the former Princeton Tigers center and willed those runs across the plate.
Much like in Monday's contest, the Royals got on the board early. After Alcides Escobar led the game off getting thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double, Mike Moustakas singled (the first of three hits for the presumptive All-Star) and was immediately pushed across the dish when Lorenzo Cain turned into a 3-1 four-seamer and throttled it into the raised seats above left-fielder Shane Peterson.
The Royals offense remained quiet in the second and third despite getting at least a runner aboard to start each frame. In the fourth, thanks to aggressive base-running on the part of Alex Gordon, Gordon and Infante stood on third and second following an Infante single to shallow center in which the throw from Gerardo Parra to third base was not fielded cleanly and an alert Infante advanced on the throw. Young stepped to the plate and chopped a single up the middle to plate the two likely All-Stars.
After a scoreless fifth, the Royals added single runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. In the sixth, Omar Infante hit his second double of the series/month, and Chris Young again singled him in, this time with a liner to right. With the score 5 - 0 heading into the seventh, Mike Moustakas hung dong to right, tacking on the sixth Royals' run of the night. Pinch-hitting for Young in the eighth, Jarrod Dyson tripled in Omar Infante to run the score to 7 - 0 Royals.
With little on the line, one of the most reliable arms in the Royals bullpen decided that it was his job to make things interesting for the second straight night. This time it was Kelvin Herrera, who seemed to be hitting his spots but failed to retire any the first three batters he faced, all of whom singled. The third of those singles scored the first Brewer run of the night, Jonathan Lucroy driving in Hernan Perez. With the lead cut to six runs, Dave Eiland strutted to the mound to talk to the flame-throwing righty. Herrera followed the visit with a strikeout of Ryan Braun and an induced double-play from the bat of Adam Lind to limit the damage to one run.
Luke Oplakia Hochevar served up a one-out dong shot to Scooter Gennett in the ninth to set the score to 7 - 2, but the next two Brewers flew out routinely.
Offensively, for the second straight night every Royals position player collected at least one hit. Tonight Chris Young added two more from the pitcher's spot in a National League park (his only out was a sacrifice bunt to advance the base-runners to second and third in the second). Moustakas raised his slash line to an unbelievable .326/.382/.469 with his three-for-five night including the aforementioned solo shot. His 142 wRC+ is now within spitting distance of Josh Donaldson (154). Omar Infante--as if in direct response to being the subject of scorn from the Self-Appointed Protectorate of All That Is Holy In Baseball--added three more hits to his season total tonight.
As usual, the Kansas City defense was sterling in support of their starting pitcher, with Lorenzo Cain and the middle infielders turning in plays that will likely make highlight reels on tonight's cable sports round-up shows. With the exception of the bullpen adding a little unexpected drama, the Royals clicked on all cylinders for the second straight night.
At 36-25, the Royals are now eleven games over .500 for the first time since they were 18-11. Tonight's victory puts the Royals 3.5 games up on the Twins and 4.0 games up on the Tigers with Cleveland and Chicago bringing up the rear in the American League Central.
Chris Young for Cy Young.