Hopefully, we all just got a glimpse of what the future holds for the Kansas City Royals.
With Adalberto Mondesi and Rosell Herrera leading the way, a ninth-inning rally broke a scoreless deadlock to lift the Royals to a 1-0 win in Houston. Against the defending World Series champions, it was Kansas City who came through in the clutch late.
Facing closer Ken Giles, Mondesi led off with a clean single to center before stealing second base. After advancing to third on a flyout, up came Rosell Herrera, who boomed a triple off the center field wall. With the outfield playing in, it felt like the ball sat out there forever, and Herrera burned around the bases for his first career triple. 1-0, Royals.
And that’d be all they’d need.
It was seriously hard to tell that the best and worst teams in the American League were on the same field on Friday night. At least from a pitching perspective, the Royals looked like contenders against one of baseball’s best lineups.
Danny Duffy was spectacular, turning in arguably his best start of the season. In six shutout innings, Duffy held the Astros to just two hits. He worked around four walks with seven strikeouts, needing 104 pitches to get his 18 outs. After being rocked by these same Astros in his last start, Duffy’s ERA is finally settling back down to 5.18. He’s been good for the most part in his last six starts.
The bullpen was really good too, and that’s worth mentioning. Kevin McCarthy worked around two walks to get out of the seventh. Justin Grimm, in an effort that pushes Escobar’s four-times-reaching-base night for the biggest surprise in the history of baseball, kept the game tied with a hitless eighth.
And then came Tim Hill, who got the nod from Ned Yost to close, and he worked through the Astros 1-2-3 for his first career save. Between Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Joakim Soria, and Jonathan Broxton, the Royals haven’t had a shaky closer situation in a decade. The closer roll will almost certainly be a revolving door over the next three months, but it was a good start.
Oh yeah, and Herrera robbed a homer in the bottom of the eighth right before driving in the winning run. He’s a stud.
Also, the Royals own Ken Giles. He’s 0-3 now in six relief outings against the Royals, the last two being Mike Moustakas’ monster walkoff blast at Kauffman last summer and now tonight.
Alcides Escobar, who started in the outfield because Ned Yost is blind to logic, actually got on base all four times he hit. Escobar had a single, a double, and two walks. I know, I double-checked as well. This performance could be nominated for “most unexpected sports display” of the year. His batting average is up to .208. Those two hits earn Escobar six more weeks of playing every inning!
Like, you do realize Escobar is going to play every day at center field because of tonight, don’t you? He’s going to be playing center field in 2027, and it will all be because of that one time he reached base four times in Houston.
The Royals are 23-52. They ended a nine game losing streak with their third win in June.
Tomorrow: Ian Kennedy vs. Lance McCullers on national TV at 6:15. I wonder if the Astros will be shut out again.