Through six innings this game was a very dull, low-scoring affair. Low-scoring games can be interesting but it requires it to be well-pitched. It was not. In fact, of the twelve half-innings, only four of them were without a baserunner. But only one run scored because the offenses just weren’t very good. And, for what it’s worth, the one run in that period scored when Danny Duffy barely clipped the elbow guard of Caleb Smith, his opposite number, on a pitch that was otherwise located in an area where pitches had been called strikes earlier in the night.
The Royals had hit a bunch of balls hard to turned into outs. But they also struck out a lot. The Marlins didn’t hit the ball well, but Duffy issued a bunch of walks. Four in six innings, to be exact. But then everything changed in the top of the seventh inning.
Caleb Smith’s night ended after the sixth inning. The Marlins called upon Adam Conley to keep the shutout going and that was their first mistake. Bubba Starling hit a groundball to the second baseman, but Garrett Cooper doesn’t respect his own range enough and came too far off the bag so Starling beat Conley to first base as he dropped the throw. Cheslor Cuthbert pinch-hit for Danny Duffy and got walked. Whit Merrifield finally got his first hit of the night, a weak single into left field that Austin Dean kicked around until Bubba Starling scored.
At that point, Marlins manager Don Mattingly got a bit desperate and asked Ryne Stanek to stop the bleeding. At first, it looked like he might succeed when he struck out Adalberto Mondesi. Then the floodgates opened. Stanek threw a wild pitch and then intentionally walked Jorge Soler to load the bases and put the double play back in order. Hunter Dozier got an RBI single to right field, Alex Gordon walked in another run, and Ryan McBroom hit his second double of the night but this one swept the bases clear and made sure the game wasn’t even going to be close.
Jorge Soler hit a solo home run in the ninth to give him 41 on the year. Heath Fillmyer pitched a scoreless seventh inning. Jacob Barnes faced four batters in the eighth but only recorded one out while allowing a run. Fortunately for him, Tim Hill came on and immediately induced a double play to escape the inning. Tim went on to pitch a scoreless ninth with a pair of strikeouts. And, actually, since Hill came on with a four-run lead and two runners on he actually earned his third career save and first of 2019.
The Royals have won their third series in a row. Ryan McBroom is slashing .375/.444/.500/.944 and making Ryan O’Hearn, despite his recent stretch of acceptable hitting, feel the heat. Tomorrow the Royals will go for the sweep. Mike Montgomery will face off against Sandy Alcantara.