Late-inning, go-ahead hits. Shutdown bullpen action. Loud Kauffman Stadium crowds.
It felt just like old times on Friday night, as behind some late-inning magic from Eric Hosmer, the Royals beat the Orioles, 3-2. Poor Jason La Canfora.
Facing Dylan Bundy, the Royals wasted little time getting going in the bottom half of the first inning. Mike Moustakas doubled, and Lorenzo Cain followed that up with a double of his own. 1-0, Royals.
The Orioles grabbed the run back in their half of the second. J.J. Hardy “tripled,” though it was really a single that Jorge Soler grossly misplayed in right field. He dove for a ball he wasn’t going to catch anyway, and predictably, the ball rolled right by him and went all the way to the wall. Hardy came in on Caleb Joseph’s RBI double to tie the score at one.
It’s almost like Soler watched Kevin Kiermaier’s efforts in Tampa Bay and thought, “Hey, I can do that.”
After that, Danny Duffy settled into a groove. He got a big lift from Alex Gordon when Mark Trumbo ran into an out at the plate in the third, but he held the Orioles down for most of the night.
Brandon Moss launched a homer in the fifth inning to give Kansas City a 2-1 lead. It landed in the upper tier of fountains in right field. Some yahoo jumped into the fountains and tried to retrieve the ball. He found it, some 10 minutes later, but he didn’t get to take it with him to his jail cell for the evening.
Baltimore finally clawed another run across against Duffy in the seventh after Joseph led off with a double, advanced to third on a sacrifice, and scored on a wild pitch. That tied the score at two apiece.
Duffy’s final line: 7.0 innings, eight hits, two runs, six strikeouts, and one walk. He threw 97 pitches.
Following a 1-2-3 eighth inning from Joakim Soria, Lorenzo Cain lined a one-out single against Vidal Nuno in the home half of the eighth. Eric Hosmer was challenged with an inner-half fastball, and he didn’t miss it, launching an RBI double into the right-center gap. 3-2, Royals.
Kansas City had a chance to do more damage in the eighth, but Hosmer was gunned down at home trying to score on Salvador Perez’ single.
Kelvin Herrera, by the way, was lethal. He looked like vintage Herrera on Friday night, pumping 99 miles-per-hour fastballs in the exact spot he was aiming for. Caleb Joseph tripled with two outs after, once again, Soler dove and the ball went flying past him, but he retired Seth Smith to end the night. It’s his sixth save of 2017.
Soria got the win. He is 2-1. Nuno (0-1) was dealt the loss.
Some random notes: Alex Gordon left the game with right groin tightness. It didn’t look bad. The team called it precautionary. We’ll see. Oh, and Jorge Soler is 1 for 21 to start his career, plus the two horrific misplays in right field.
The Royals are back to seven games under .500. They are 14-21. Tomorrow, they’ll go for the series behind Nathan Karns (2-2, 4.58 ERA), who has thrown two straight brilliant starts. He’ll be opposed by Baltimore ace Chris Tillman, who threw five shutout innings in his first start of the year last Sunday against Chicago.