The “expected” pitchers duel between Jason Vargas and Josh Tomlin materialized, though they went about it in different ways.
Jason Vargas continued his 85 mph “rampage” through the season. It took him 92 pitches to get through 6 and change, giving up 4 hits and 2 walks against 6 Ks. But he gave up 0 runs and lowered his ERA to 1.19 on the season, 2nd in the AL to one Ervin Santana.
In the the 7th, Kipnis hit a chopper up the line. Hosmer acted as if it was foul so Vargas held up and the Indians had a leadoff runner. Strahm replaced Vargas and three batters later, the Tribe had runners at 2nd and 3rd with 2 out. Indians DH Carlos Santana hit a flare to shallow left that looked like it would plate two. But Gordon flew out of nowhere, making a diving catch and saving two runs. As the FS1 crew said "A game saving catch right there by Gordon. Wow!" Take a look, it’s pretty spiffy.
Unfortunately, on the other side of the field, Tomlin was also dealing with some Royal assistance. He had 55 pitches through 5, 66 through 6, and finished with 76 through 7. That said, the Royals scratched across a run in the 4th. Lorenzo Cain got a 1 out double and Eric Hosmer extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a line drive RBI single to right center. After 7, the Royals had the slimmest of leads at 1-0.
Earlier this season, I said of Kyle Zimmer: “How much more bad karma can the poor bastard get? Was he some sort of sacrilegious Johnny Appleseed in a previous life who went from religious site to religious site, leaving giant deuces wherever he went?” Unfortunately, this luck apparently fell on Joakim Soria in the 8th today.
- With one out, Michael Brantley grounded one towards Alcides Escobar, but it deflected off of Soria’s leg and went up the middle for a single.
- Edwin Encarnacion hit a broken bat grounder right where Hosmer would have been if he hadn’t been holding the runner which put runners at 1st and 3rd.
- Undaunted, Soria gets a huge K against Jose Ramirez for the 2nd out.
- But Jason Kipnis lines a single back up the middle past a diving Escobar to tie the game.
- Lonnie Chisenhall fouled one off of Salvador Perez’s forearm, which required the trainer to come out. Then he swung at and completely missed a ball that bounced a couple of feet in front of the plate, but it was called a foul. Strike four ended the inning. Chisenhall! Turn in your badge!
Alex Gordon reached first on an error to start the 8th but made it no further as Andrew Miller retired the side.
Bad things continued to happen to the Royals bullpen in the 9th, this time more of their own making. Showing some urgency, Ned Yost went to closer Kelvin Herrera in the tie game. He got two quick outs to start the inning. But he fell behind Carlos Santana who pulled a 98 mph fastball out to right center. Two pitches later, Francisco Lindor crushed a 92 mph changeup into the Royals bullpen. The back-to-back home runs gave the Indians a 3-1 lead.
Cleveland closer Cody Allen scuffled in the bottom half of the 9th. Whit Merrifield worked a full count before striking out. Mike Moustakas walked. Lorenzo Cain singled up the middle. The tying runs were on base with hot hitting Eric Hosmer coming up.
The Son of Hos got out in front of the first pitch he saw, a slow curve, and grounded to second. Fortunately, it wasn’t hit hard enough to turn a double play with and the Royals still had life.
Unfortunately, Drew Butera was up next as Salvy left due to the injury sustained in the top half of the inning. He popped out to shallow left and the game was over with the tying runs left on base.
The Royals drop to 10-19 while the Indians get to 16-13. For the 1:15pm rubber game tomorrow, Danny Duffy is hoping to bounce back after a pair of 6-run outings while Mike Clevinger makes his season debut for the Indians.
It’s the final game of the homestand. Beginning Monday, Kansas City will have 10 in a row against the AL East with they have 4 on the road in hostile Soviet territory before returning to Kauffman for 3 game series against the Orioles and Yankees.