A Danny Duffy gem of an outing and a three-hit game by everyone’s favorite left fielder, Alex Gordon, powered the Kansas City Royals past a very good Atlanta Braves team (and an even better Atlanta Braves starter, Dallas Keuchel). Gordon was a triple short of the cycle. Also making an appearance tonight was bad bullpen pitching and a whole slew of hit batters and foul balls off hitters’ legs and catchers’ helmets; thankfully, no one was hurt.
Most of tonight’s game was a good old fashioned pitcher’s duel. Both pitchers were clearly on their game. Furthermore, it was an aesthetically beautiful game, featuring two lefties with clearly different yet clearly effective repertoires. Duffy baffled hitters with low-90s heat and a hard slider. Keuchel baffled hitters with pinpoint control and a sharp sinker.
Both pitchers also wiggled out of jams. In the fourth inning, Whit Merrifield singled on a perfect bunt, and then Alex Gordon doubled him home. Hunter Dozier also saw Keuchel well, but lined out to left field. Jorge Soler then walked, placing men at first and second base with only one out. But Keuchel struck out Cheslor Cuthbert and Humberto Arteaga to end the threat.
One inning later, Duffy worked himself out of his own jam. Keuchel, of all people, led off with a screaming double to right-center. Duffy walked Ronald Acuna and hit Josh Donaldson with a pitch. However, Duffy struck out the side.
All told, Duffy and Keuchel combined for three earned runs, eight hits, three walks, and an ungodly 23 strikeouts in 12 innings. Duffy’s 11 strikeouts were the second-best of his career, just behind his franchise record 16-strikeout game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
After the aforementioned Gordon double and an earlier Donaldson double, the score was tied at 1-1 in the sixth inning when, as Rex Hudler said—and I quote—“The Gordinator Gordinated all over that one.” That one being a very nice home run that was the first homer in the Sonic Slam Inning in roughly 6.2 forevers:
Tim Hill would quickly give that lead up in the seventh inning, but just as quickly Lucas Duda reclaimed the lead with a home run. Seriously! He did! Nobody was expecting it, though, and I was prepared to fire off a snarky tweet. Max did fire off a snarky tweet beforehand.
Haha, this tweet aged so poorly.— Royals Review (@royalsreview) July 24, 2019
I was literally about to tweet about the utter uselessness of Lucas Duda and he hit a home run— Matt LaMar (@LaMar_Matt) July 24, 2019
I will now proceed to tweet about the uselessness of every player if this continues
The game got more interesting in the eighth inning, as the Royals threatened to crack the game wide open by loading the bases with no outs. Unfortunately, a Nicky Lopez double play ended the threat after three runs scored. In the bottom of the frame, the Braves threatened to tie the game back up. Atlanta picked up one run on a single by Charlie Culberson that honestly should have been an Arteaga error, but they only gained that single run.
The game wasn’t over, though. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Ian Kennedy coughed up three consecutive singles to Dansby Swanson, Donaldson, and Freddie Freeman. That tightened the score to 5-4 Royals and placed the tying run on second base—without any outs. But after a fielder’s choice, a harmless popup, and a strikeout, Kennedy notched the Jonathan Broxton Memorial Heart Attack save.
Kansas City plays another game in Atlanta tomorrow and then will travel back to Kauffman Stadium for another set against the Cleveland Indians. The Royals are 38-64 and are 11-3 since the All-Star break.