So this game wasn’t very interesting for like, seven and a half innings. And then... well, it got interesting. And then it got great!
The Royals put together a wild comeback, scoring six runs in the final two innings, to flip a 6-1 deficit into a 7-6 win. They won for just the seventh time in the last 30 games, but it feels like some weight was lifted off of everyone’s shoulders with a win like this. Salvador Perez clobbered a game-winning walk-off hit to the wall to secure a dramatic walk-off victory.
Let’s go chronologically, so the bad first!
Kris Bubic just continues to get worse. Remember when towards the end of May, his ERA was like, 1.50? That is a distant memory at this point, as he gave up five more runs in 4.1 frames to push the ERA all the way out to 5.40. Even in the innings he didn’t give up runs in, he was pitching in and out of trouble regularly.
Cincinnati got three in the third on a pair of extra-base hits, and Bubic gave up a two-run homer to a .214 hitter in Kyle Farmer in the fourth. 4.1 innings, eight hits, five runs, four strikeouts, 100 pitches. Not great.
Cincinnati starter Luis Castillo, who entered with an ERA of 5.08, mowed through the Royals’ punchless offense like it was nothing. Castillo shined with seven innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits while getting 21 outs. The only run he gave up was a solo shot to Michael A. Taylor (his eighth), which seemed completely unimportant when he hit it. After seven innings, the Royals trailed 6-1, and the team looked totally lost. But that’s why, Rob Manfred, seven-inning games shouldn’t be a thing.
With two outs in the eighth inning, the Royals still trailed by five runs. Andrew Benintendi hit a two-run homer in the eighth to make a 6-1 game a 6-3 game. It was his ninth of the year. We’re like, “yeah, ok, whatever. Garbage-time runs.”
Then came the ninth. An ode to 2015 took place when the “get loud” music blared over the Kauffman Stadium speakers in the ninth inning. Down 6-3, Ryan O’Hearn worked a leadoff walk. Hunter Dozier was hit on the hand by a pitch. Michael A. Taylor hit a rocket right to third base, which went under the legs of the third baseman, resulting in a run-scoring error. Dozier and Taylor were in scoring position, down 6-4, with none out. Rally hats on.
Mike Matheny pinch-hit Jorge Soler, either the worst or second-worst player in baseball depending on what you think about Hunter Dozier (no hyperbole, go check the last two players in WAR), and he struck out, surprising nobody. But that’s when Nicky Lopez, or Nicky GOATpez, dropped a perfectly-placed flare single into left field, scoring both runs. A throwing error on the play resulted in Lopez getting to advance all the way to third base, putting the winning run at third with one out.
Lopez truthfully has been one of the better players in the AL over the last five weeks or so. He has turned himself into a quality player.
Following an Andrew Benintendi strike out, Salvador Perez clobbered the game-winning walk-off hit off the wall in left field. It is his seventh career walk-off hit. He is having an amazing season.
A positive: the bullpen! Carlos Hernandez worked 3.2 innings and only gave up one run. He had electric stuff, getting six strikeouts in a short amount of time. Josh Staumont got a couple of strikeouts. Richard Lovelady got the final out of the ninth inning, which wound up getting him a win. He is 2-0.
The Royals are 36-49. They’ll go for the series tomorrow when Brady Singer goes for a 1:10 pm afternoon start. Sonny Gray, who is off to a productive start despite a bad W/L record, will oppose him. The Royals have always hit Gray pretty well, so maybe the devil magic tonight ignited will flow into tomorrow.