The Royals decided to wait until the games start at 9:10 pm to play their wildest baseball of the year.
Edward Olivares was the hero in a 12-inning, four-and-a-half hour marathon, as Kansas City beat Seattle 8-7 on Friday night. It was a terrific baseball game.
Kris Bubic had a rough night, but it was especially difficult early on. After being spotted a 1-0 lead, Bubic faced 17 batters in the first two innings and gave up five runs. Seattle had an incredible 10 plate appearances with the bases loaded in the first two innings. I sound like Ryan Lefebvre here with this optimism, but it’s kind of amazing that Bubic “only” allowed five runs after that.
The Royals had baserunners all night, but it was the fourth inning when the big breakthrough moment occurred. Ryan O’Hearn, Whit Merrifield, and Nicky Lopez all singled to load the bases for Salvador Perez, who came through with his second grand slam in as many nights. There aren’t even words at this point to describe Perez, who hit a ball that was low and outside over the center-field wall for a game-tying slam. 5-5.
Here are some of the statistics on Sal Perez. He’s now second in baseball with 36 homers, tied with Vlad Guerrero Jr. He’s fourth in RBIs with 90. He’s just the third catcher ever to record a grand slam in consecutive days. Paired with Whit Merrifield’s slam in Houston back on Wednesday, the Royals are just the fifth team since 1980 to hit a grand slam in three games in a row.
Perez is legitimately having one of the greatest seasons in Royals history. He’ll likely finish top-five in the AL MVP voting. He is ridiculous.
Down 5-1, Bubic battled back. Considering his pitch count in the first two innings, it’s a minor miracle he settled down to the point of completing 4.1 frames. Bubic struck out six, but he allowed 13 baserunners and recorded 13 outs.
Fortunately for him, Carlos Hernandez became the story of the game. Fans were stunned when Mike Matheny opted to bring him into the game seemingly out of nowhere. But Hernandez was brilliant, retiring 14 straight Mariners stringing from the fifth all the way into the 10th. It was an odd move to bring him out of the bullpen, considering he was the scheduled starter for tomorrow night’s game, but he was literally perfect until extra innings.
After the fourth inning, the Royals and Mariners locked down and the game stayed deadlocked all the way through the bottom of the ninth. After not playing any extra-innings games for a long time, it now feels like the Royals have played 20 extra-innings games in the last two months.
In the 10th, Hunter Dozier started the inning at second, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on a sac fly by Edward Olivares. Imagine that! Eddie O producing when he’s given the chance to play baseball! Hernandez, still in the game, allowed a gimmicky infield single to move the runner to third and then a sacrifice fly. It’s such a weird concept, having a pitcher be perfect for half a game and then give up a run to a guy he didn’t put on base. 6-6 it was, through 10 innings.
Hernandez’ final line: 5.2 innings, one hit, one unearned run that he didn’t put on base, no walks, and six strikeouts on 80 pitches. He was fantastic. He’s been tremendous in the second half of the season, and he’s played himself into a spot in the 2022 rotation. He was absolutely awesome tonight.
In the 11th, the Royals did nothing... and neither did the Mariners, thanks to two outs by Richard Lovelady and a third by Josh Staumont.
In the 12th, Edward Olivares came through with a two-out, two-run homer that just /barely/ got over the left field wall. It’s the fifth home run of the year for Olivares, who drove in all three runs the Royals scored in extra innings.
I have been very vocal all year about the screw job Olivares has gotten from this organization. This man should be playing every single day in the outfield. He’s produced every time he’s been at the big league level, yet they keep sending him down after a handful of games. Hopefully this was the sort of message the team needed to be sent to keep him here, because he’s undoubtedly the team’s best option in right field right now. He should be considered the favorite to be the team’s Opening Day right fielder in 2022. He’s a legitimately good player that is absolutely one of the best two outfielders in the system right now, along with Benintendi.
Kansas City had 16 hits on the night - three each for Ryan O’Hearn, Nicky Lopez, and Salvador Perez. Hunter Dozier and Carlos Santana went 0-for-6.
Staumont stayed in and slammed the door shut in the home half of the 12th. The guy that started the inning at second scored on a wild pitch and a groundout, making it an unearned run, but ultimately proving to be harmless in the result. Staumont earned the win, making him 3-2. He was very sharp tonight, taking another step in the right direction and looking more and more like the stud he has all the potential in the world to be.
It is late and I am going to bed.
They’re 58-70, and if they win tomorrow, they’ll be within 11 games of .500 for the first time in the month of August. They’ve won 9 of 12.
Tomorrow: probably Daniel Lynch now, since he was supposed to start Sunday? The game is at 3:10 pm. If Edward Olivares isn’t in the lineup I’m going to scream.