With the dong-prone but recently rolling Jakob Junis and the mercurial Lucas Giolito facing pretty bad offenses, the makings of a mediocre game were there from Jump Street.
Somewhat surprisingly, the game actually ended up being about as exciting as a game without meaning between teams a combined 79 games under .500 can be.
After a scoreless top of the first, Whit Merrifield sent Lucas Giolito’s first pitch of the night screaming into the night, stroking a dong 406 feet to left center to put the Royals up 1-0 immediately.
Adalberto Mondesí followed the leadoff dongage with a walk and immediately attempted to take second on Welington Castillo and Lucas Giolito, but after initially being ruled safe, review showed him to be out at second. Alex Gordon followed with a double cranked 401 feet to left center and leaving the bat at 105 MPH. Clearly feeling they could run on this battery, Alex Gordon took third while Hunter Dozier stood at the plate, but Dozier grounded back to the mound, and Ryan O’Hearn followed with a fly ball to center, stranding Gordon at third after he reached the bag with just one out.
Following a scoreless top of the second, the Royals got right back to work against Giolito. Jorge Bonifacio erased Salvador Pérez by way of a fielder’s choice after Pérez led off with a single. Giolito uncorked a wild pitch to send Bonifacio to second, and Brian Goodwin dinked an infield single to third to move another Royal runner to third with one out. Alcides Escobar followed with a bizarre fly forceout to right fielder Daniel Palka, driving in Bonifacio from third but leaving Goodwin hanging who couldn’t advance on the fly ball for fear of getting doubled up if straying too far on a ball the could easily have been caught. Merrifield ended the inning with a groundout to second, but the Royals now led 2-0.
That lead was short-lived.
Spotted a 2-0 advantage, Jakob Junis immediately got to his dong happy ways, serving up a tater to Adam Engel, who spanked it 423 feet to center. With two outs, José Abreu singled for the second time in his first two plate appearances back from the DL. Alleged serial killer Daniel Palka then murdered a Junis offering, good for his 22nd dong of the year, putting the Pail Hoes up 3-2.
Run scoring went dormant for the next three frames for each team with both Junis and Giolito settling down and cruising much deeper into their nights than would have seemed possible after relatively rough starts.
In the bottom of the sixth, rookie slugger Ryan O’Hearn became just the third Royal to reach safely after the second inning when squared one up, destroying a Giolito two-seamer, crushing a no-doubter 423 feet to center. The dong was his 10th on the season, taking just 112 plate appearances to get there.
The O’Hearn dong was the last run Giolito allowed, with the nephew of Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost finishing the seventh mired in a modestly successful outing that could not yield him a win, leaving with the score tied at three runs apiece. He struck out three, walked two, and gave up six hits, two of which were dongs.
Giolito’s counterpart, Junis worked eight innings, also of three-run ball. Junis struck out five, walked no men, and allowed seven hits. Of course, he, too, ceded two dongs, and neither pitcher could factor into the decision when the game was taken out of their hands and turned over to the bullpens.
Southpaw Jace Fry was the first reliever to enter the game, pitching a one-hit eighth and coming back out to get lefty-loather Ryan O’Hearn for the first out of the bottom of the ninth. Wily Peralta worked around a lead-off single from José Abreu in the top of the ninth, and after Fry’s first out of the ninth, Jeanmar Gómez finished out the ninth without allowing a runner, sending the game trudging to extras.
Jake “Don’t Call Me ‘Debbie’” Newberry came in for Yost’s squad in the top of the tenth and—aided by a spearing of an Adam Engel screamer courtesy of Alcides Escobar—preserved the 3-3 score. One-time starter Jeanmar Gómez came back out in the bottom of the tenth and promptly served up a lead-off double to Brian Goodwin. With Goodwin at second and no outs, Alcides Escobar did the most Alcides Escobarian thing ever and laid down a bunt to the left side of the infield. Gómez thought he had a play at third and lobbed a throw with his footing off-kilter, just airmailing the throw over the glove of Yolmer Sánchez. The ball skittered into foul territory, and Brian Goodwin recovered from the slide that would have been safe anyway, popped to his feet, and raced home to send the Royals victorious into the night.
The win staves off a 100-loss season for at least a few more nights.