Ventura started off better than either of the Royals previous starters in this series; he struck out Devon Travis instead of allowing a home run. In fact, he worked around a single and a walk to prevent the Blue Jays from scoring at all in the first inning.
In the bottom of the first there was a wee bit of drama. Apparently retaliation was owed the Royals for Kelvin Herrera beaning Josh Donaldson in the face with a change-up two nights ago. Why an obviously unintentional result requires retaliation is beyond me, especially two days later. But with Cheslor Cuthbert standing at third Marcus Stroman tried to hit Eric Hosmer with a 1-0 pitch and threw it about two feet behind him instead. It would have been sweet justice if the wild pitch had allowed Cuthbert to score, but it seems he's learned the true nature of his 'speed.' He stayed put and Hosmer grounded out to end the inning.
The Royals got something cooking in the bottom of the second, though. Kendrys Morales worked a 9 pitch walk. He was forced out on a fielder's choice hit by Alex Gordon that included a poor throw from Stroman to second base, which prevented it from being a double play. Paulo Orlando drove a single into right field. Moments later he went to third while Alex Gordon scored on Drew Butera's bloop single into right. That brought Raul Mondesi to the plate. So of course he performed a safety squeeze. Orlando scored and Stroman again made a poor throw. This time it went into right field so Butera went to third base. Mondesi slipped and fell so he had to stay at first,; but he stole second on a hit and run two pitches later when Alcides Escobar swung through the high pitch.
Unfortunately, Escobar grounded the next one to Edwin Encarnacion who stepped on first. Mondesi, who lost track of the number of outs, thought the ball was going to get through, or had some other reason to assume Butera would head home broke for third. Butera, seeing the dilemma Mondesi was in, did finally head home but was thrown out easily.
Escobar led off the 5th inning by belting a fastball down the middle for a home run to centerfield. His second of the season and second to center of his career.
Ventura dodged bullets so often and so effectively that he was like a fiery ballerina on the mound. He had only one 1-2-3 inning, the fifth. But he twirled his way through 6 2/3 innings and only allowed one run on 5 hits and 4 walks with 4 strike outs. That run might not have even scored with a better block by Butera when Peter Moylan bounced a two strike slider; Moylan had relieved Ventura with men at first and third with two out. Moylan then struck out Jose Bautista with the very next pitch to end the threat.
In the bottom of the inning the Royals went back to the old familiar ‘Keep the Line Moving’ approach. Mondesi led off with a sinking liner into center for a single. Escobar came up and just missed extra bases down the left field line on a hit and run, but then bunted for a single. Cuthbert made a vague attempt at sacrificing them over but looked completely helpless. Then he swung away and lined a single into right field.
Lorenzo Cain struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch and Brett Cecil came in to face Eric Hosmer. Hosmer struck out, some might even say he did so twice. He foul tipped and Jays catcher Josh Thole argued vehemently that he had caught the ball, but the umpires disagreed. Hosmer finally completely whiffed two pitches later. Kendrys Morales rescued them both when he jumped all over the first pitch he saw, a high fastball, and destroyed it to center field for the Royals' second grand slam of the season. This made all of Royals fandom - who had, by now, noticed Chris Young preparing to pitch the eight inning - breathe a sigh of relief at the new, improved lead.
Chris Young actually closed out the game while only allowing only one hit in two innings.
- Lorenzo Cain got his third assist this year when he gunned down Jose Bautista at third base in the third inning.
- Raul Mondesi now leads the team with 3 bunt hits, and I'm starting to think he could bat 1.000 and be at second or third base after every at-bat if he just always bunted.
- The Royals won their first series since the second to last time they won back to back games, June 29-30 against the Cardinals.
- The Royals have now won 4 of their last 7, and haven't lost a series in a whole week.
The Cleveland baseballers have been slumping almost as badly as the Royals since the break and have even lost one of their terrific starting pitchers to injury. Now that the Royals offense has scored more than three runs in back to back games is it finally time for the Devil Magic to kick back in? The Royals are off tomorrow, but the search for magical residue will continue Tuesday when Edinson Volquez leads the Royals against Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox.