- Mike Scioscia protested a bunt play in the seventh inning
- That bunt play scored two runs, which tied the game 3-3
- The Royals kept the line moving
- Wade Davis looked incredibly shaky in the ninth
Danny Duffy is the Royals rotation savior. Let that sink in. After last night's monstrosity masquerading as a baseball game, the Royals absolutely needed what Duffy gave them tonight. Six innings, three runs, two walks, and five strikeouts.
After a 1-2-3 first and second innings, Duffy finally ran into some trouble in the third. With one out, he allowed a single and a double to put men on second and third. Duffman managed to strike out Yunel Escobar and got Kole Calhoun to fly out to end the inning with no runs scored.
Sadly, Duffy worked into trouble again in the fifth inning. He walked the first two batters and gave up a single up the middle to Johnny Giavotella, which loaded the bases with no outs. Escobar (Yunel) then grounded out to Escobar (Alcides) for a double play, but the Angels still scored the first run of the game. Duffy followed by getting Calhoun to hit a screamer over to Hosmer for the final out of the inning. For having the bases loaded with no outs, Duffy limited the damage pretty darn well.
The no-hitter against the Royals was finally broken in the bottom of the fifth inning. Salvador Perez launched a deep fly ball to right-center field that just barely glanced off Calhoun’s glove as he dove for it. Alex Gordon then ripped a line drive into right field that did not score Perez.
With Paulo Orlando at the plate, the Royals finally broke their scoreless streak. Orlando obliterated a hanging splitter at the top of the zone to left-center field. It went over the fence, but not before bouncing first - a ground-rule double. Perez scored, but Gordon was forced to hold at third base. That one run is all the Royals got, but at least they weren’t shut out.
The Angels responded immediately in the sixth with a single and a double. Mike Trout scored from first because it was hit to the deep part of left-center field. Duffy made it out while giving up only that one run, but he gave up a double to start the seventh inning and was removed in favor of Joakim Soria. Jack allowed a single through a shallow infield, which scored the Angels’ third run, but made it out of the seventh without allowing another run.
Then, uh, the bottom of the seventh happened. Gordon and Orlando led off with singles, which brought Raul Mondesi (who turned 21 today) to the plate. Everyone expected a sacrifice bunt, and Mondesi did indeed lay down a bunt. Johnny Giavotella covering first base and Matt Shoemaker could not connect on the throw, and it went into foul territory. Calhoun fell while fielding the ball, so both Gordon and Orlando scored. Mondesi made his way to third base.
Mike Scioscia was super-angry about stuff and wasted a whole bunch of time arguing with the umpires on whether or not Mondesi interfered with the throw by ... running in the grass I guess? He looked like he was running right on the baseline, like baseball players tend to do, and he looked like he was going to be safe anyway. Nevertheless, the umpires took a look and concluded ... whatever. I don’t know. I’m not even sure what specifically Scioscia was arguing. The play stood, but Scioscia officially protested. Mondesi got a hit on the play. Up is square and down is peanut butter.
Joel Goldberg later did some reporting that Mondesi did not interfere with the ball because he was making his last stride to touch first base, which is within the rules. The umpires were potentially doing a rules check when they put on the headphones. Judgment calls, which I believe whether or not Mondesi was out of the baseline was a judgment call, are not reviewable.
After an interminable wait, Jarrod Dyson laced a triple down the right field line to score Mondesi, which gave the Royals the lead for the first time in what seemed like an age. That knocked Shoemaker out of the game and brought in J.C. Ramirez. Escobar (Alcides) hit a sacrifice fly to score Dyson, making the score 5-3.
The game broke open a little more in the bottom of the eighth as shades of the seventh appeared to haunt the Angels. After getting two outs, Alex Gordon stroked an outside two-strike pitch to center field for a single. Orlando then scorched a ball down the left field line for a double to put men on second and third with Mondesi at the plate. Sound familiar? Mondesi dribbled a grounder to no-man's land between third base, the pitcher, and shortstop. The pitcher fielded it and let loose a legitimately poor throw that may not have gotten Mondesi had it been accurate. That kid can fly. On the throwing error, Gordon and Orlando scored to make it 7-3.
Wade Davis came on for the ninth inning and induced a grounder from Giavotella. Mondesi made a nice stop in the hole but fumbled the transfer, which led to an errant throw that put Gio on second base. Davis then walked Escobar (Yunel), putting runners on first and second with no outs. Calhoun launched a deep fly to right-center field, but it was not deep enough to leave the park. Gio moved to third, and Mike Trout walked to load the bases for Albert Pujols, the tying run.
Pujols walked, scoring a run. Davis looked like he was getting a pretty tight zone, but he also could have been pitching around Trout and Pujols. Jefry Marte lined out to Mondesi for the second out. Andrelton Simmons followed with a base-hit liner to center field, but only one run scored as the Angels' third base coach held Trout. Bases loaded, two outs, and Wade Davis struck out Jett Bandy to end the game.
That was ... stressful. One step at a time. Win a game first, then win a game without inducing any heart attacks.