After more than two weeks without a home run, Mike Moustakas finally hit No. 36, as the Royals beat the Twins in Minneapolis, 7-6, on Friday night.
The three-run blast in the third inning tied the Kansas City franchise record for most home runs in a single season. You may have heard about Moustakas' pursuit of Steve Balboni's mark. Now, he's finally tied it, and his next home run will put him alone at the top.
As for the game itself, the Royals, with opportunities slipping through their fingertips on a daily basis, came through to win just their second game of the season to date in Minnesota. Jason Hammel served up a two-run dong to Jorge Polanco in the first inning, dropping the Royals into a 2-0 hole.
But things all changed in a five-run fifth inning against old friend Dillon Gee. The Royals sent all nine men to the plate in the frame, beginning with an Alcides Escobar double. After a groundout, Escobar scored on an RBI single by Lorenzo Cain. Then, Melky Cabrera rocked an RBI double to the deepest part of the stadium, tying the score at 2-2.
Following a walk by Eric Hosmer and a fly out, Moustakas stepped to the plate and delivered No. 36, his first since August 15th. The three run shot knocked Gee out of the game and made it 5-2, Kansas City.
Hammel managed to put together a perfectly mediocre start, which is just perfect for him. He gave up two more runs on the evening, one in the third on a sacrifice fly, and one in the seventh on an RBI single. Brandon Maurer, Mike Minor, and whatever the hell happened in the ninth worked through the last 2.2 innings of work to bring home the win for the Royals.
Two more Kansas City runs came in the sixth inning, courtesy of Brandon Moss. He hit his 18th homer of the year, a two-run blast, to stretch Kansas City's lead to 7-3.
Hammel's final line: 6.1 innings, seven hits, four runs, and three strikeouts. His ERA entering the game was 4.76. It is now 4.80. So it was perfectly in tune with what he's done all season. He is now 7-10.
Gee took the loss for the Twins, allowing five runs in fewer than three innings of work.
Kelvin Herrera came in with a three-run lead, and then loaded the bases, gave up a single to Joe Mauer to make it 7-6, fell behind another hitter, and left hurt. I'm aware that Royals Twitter is going to yell at me for this, but for crying out loud. It's like how every time Duke basketball has a bad three-week stretch, Coach K suddenly has to leave for some sort of surgery. If he's hurt, don't trot him out there. If he's not hurt, get three outs before you blow saves.
Scott Alexander was brought on to clean up Herrera's mess for the second time in a week. He walked the guy Herrera fell behind to re-load the bases, and then he got Eddie Rosario out. That is save #2 for him.
The Royals are 66-67. I'd love to tell you how far back in the Wild Card race they are, but that changes every 30 minutes. They're a couple of games back of like, six different teams. They need a 9-1 stretch or something like that to climb back in it.
Tomorrow: the Royals look to win their first series at Target Field all season behind the arm of... Onelki Garcia, who is making his first MLB start. He will try to beat Kyle Gibson. It is must-watch television at 6:10 pm CDT.