In a game with Jeremy Guthrie and a wild rookie starting after a rain delay, things went kind of like you would expect. Runs were scored immediately. Though Guthrie had a poor start, I think Jason Bourgeois, a former Royal outfielder, had the worst game aside from what he did at the plate. Zobrist had another great day at the plate. Things have changed.
Alcides Escobar led off the game with an 0-2 count but worked a walk from that hole. Yay! Ben Zobrist followed with a ground ball just inside the line on the first base side. It bounded into the deepest corner of right field, which allowed Escobar to score from first easily. After a Lorenzo Cain groundout moved Zobrist to third, Eric Hosmer singled in Zobrist. The Royals would get one more hit in the inning, but no more runs scored.
Guthrie let the first Reds hitter, the aforementioned Bourgeois, reach on a single but promptly picked him off. That turned out to be important since Guthrie went on to give up back-to-back home runs to Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. Votto crushed a fastball over the middle of the plate. Phillips, on the other hand, took a hanging breaker and tested the left field fence. The ball bounced off the top yellow part of the fence. I doubt that's a home run in many places.
The Royals responded with two more runs in the second inning, all with two outs. Escobar singled before Zobrist hit another double (that dude is awesome, right?!). With those two guys on, Cain pounded a line drive up the middle. Bourgeois misplayed the ball, which allowed Zobrist to score from second.
In the bottom of the third, Bourgeois managed to do something good by taking a four-pitch walk. That was more on Guthrie than him, I think. The next batter, Eugenio Suarez, doubled in Bourgeois.
The Royals scattered hits across the next few innings. They loaded the bases in the fourth inning, which is the inning that the Reds took out starter Keyvius Sampson, with only one out, but they squandered the opportunity on a Mike Moustakas strikeout and an Alex Rios force out.
Final line for Sampson: 3.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR.
Guthrie very nearly allowed more runs in the fifth inning. He walked Bourgeois again (getting only one called strike) before allowing Suarez to reach on a single. With two men on and no outs, Votto took a ball the other way. Jarrod Dyson leaped at the wall and managed to catch it. After a review, the call was upheld. That got one out. Phillips reached on a single, which meant the bases were loaded with only one out. Ned Yost removed Guthrie for Luke Hochevar here.
What happened next was strange. Hochevar induced an infield fly from Jay Bruce that went the distance of a weak bunt. The infield fly rule was invoked, so the out was called before the ball came down. Hochevar ended up not catching the ball, which apparently confused Bourgeois, who tried to score. After the ball came down, Hochevar flipped the ball to Drew Butera, who tagged out a befuddled Bourgeois for the final out. No runs scored.
Guthrie's final line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 2 HR. Both starters were bad.
In the later innings, the bullpens more or less expedited the completion of the game. Only four hits were given up across both teams' relievers. After Hochevar, Ryan Madson and Kelvin Herrera threw scoreless innings. Working around a single and a questionable walk, Wade Davis closed out the win with a strikeout against Votto.
The walk to Suarez in the ninth.
Uh huh. Luckily, our best bested their best at the end. The Royals head to Boston for a four-game series.