Not the prettiest game ever between these two cross-state rivals but nearly 6 hours after first pitch, the Royals get the win.
In the battle of the lefties, the young Bubic outperforms the veteran Jon Lester. Of course the day didn’t start out well for Bubic. On the second pitch of the game, rookie Dylan Carlson drove a long shot over the centerfield wall for the early Cardinals 1-0 lead. Bubic bounced back to limit the early damage.
Through one time through the order, only Salvy reached via walk leading to an easy first and second inning. In the third inning, Whit collected a two-out hit, but Lester retired Nicky Lopez next to end the inning.
In the bottom of the third, Bubic avoided trouble after a lead-off ground rule double by the pitcher, Lester. Despite a two-out single by Nolan Arenado, Lester, not known for his speed, could not score. The veteran pitcher was ultimately stranded there by a Tyler O’Neill ground out, keeping the Royals deficit at 1.
The Royals got on the board in the top of the fourth thanks to back-to-back singles with one out by Carlos Santana and Hunter Dozier. Edward Olivares was then plunked by a pitch, loading the bases for Michael A. Taylor. Taylor singled up the middle scoring Santana. Still with the bases loaded, Hanser Alberto grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Dozier and taking the 2-1 lead.
This was the first lead for the Royals in the series.
The bottom of the fourth was a wild one thanks to the first three batters of the inning getting on via free pass. Edman and Bader walked and Dejong was hit by pitch. With bases loaded and no outs, Bubic gets a grounder back to him from Andrew Knizner. Bubic threw it home to Perez who then threw the ball to Santana at first for a HUGE 1-2-3 double play. Lester was the next batter and he ended the inning with a pop fly to Alberto.
The legs of Whit Merrifield generated a run in the fifth after he led off the inning with a walk. Lopez grounded out, moving Merrifield to second. After stealing third, his MLB leading 30th of the year, Salvy sent Whit home with a sacrifice fly. 3-1 Royals.
In the bottom of the fifth, Bubic was replaced by Tapia. Bubic’s final line was 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 4 K.
In the 6th inning, KC makes it three innings in a row putting runs on the board. With Lester still in, Dozier led off the inning with a double. Lester then got Olivares out on strikes. Taylor picked him up though with a one-out single, scoring Dozier. A wild throw from O’Neill advanced Taylor to second. Taylor stole third, and was eventually scored on a pinch-hit Ryan O’Hearn single extending the Royals lead to 5-1.
After Wade Davis pitched a clean 6th inning, the St. Louis suburban native Jake Brentz came into the game in the 7th. Jose Rondon led off the inning with a pinch-hit single. A wild pitch by Brentz moved Rondon to second. Who then moved to third on a Carlson ground out. Paul Goldsmidt singled, scoring Rondon. With one-out, Arenado was rung up by Angel Hernandez in back-to-back questionable calls by the veteran umpire giving Brentz his second out. After an O’Neill walk, Edman ended the inning with the Royals still up 3.
Next up from the Royals bullpen was Greg Holland.
Harrison Bader was rewarded with a single to begin the inning, but from any viewers perspective, he reached via Alberto error. Holland then got Dejong to fly out to Dozier for the first out. Holland walked Knizner and hit the pinch-hitting Matt Carpenter to load the bases with one out.
Holland’s control caused manager Mike Matheny to make a double switch, bringing in Dyson for Olivares and Scott Barlow to do what he has done so many times, put out the fire.
Carlson was the first batter Barlow faced and he flew out to right, scoring Bader. Next up was Goldsmidt who again came up clutch again singling to right scoring the second run of the inning for the Cardinals. Arenado came up next ready to avenge his previous at bat which was taken by the umpire Hernandez. Battling back from 0-2 to jam a blooper to land just in front of Michael A. Taylor tied the game at 5-5. Barlow struck out O’Neill to end the inning.
In the top of the 9th, Hanser Alberto singled to start things against the Cardinals’ closer, Alex Reyes. Dyson was up next and came up with one thing in mind; sacrifice bunt. He got the bunt down and the charging Goldsmidt went to second to get the force out. However, the throw went wide, moving Alberto to third and Dyson to second.
Then the weather came. Over a two hour rain delay with runners on second and third with no outs and tied.
When play resumed with that exact situation, the Cardinals sent Reyes back out to the mound and his first tough test was against Whit. In a slider only pitch sequence, Merrifield hit a ground ball to Dejong at short. Alberto broke for home, Dejong’s throw was high but just good enough for catcher Knizner to tag Alberto out for the first out.
Next up with runners on first and third and one out, clutch Nicky Lopez with two-strikes lines a ball to right field scoring Dyson. That’s where the fun ended thanks to Reyes striking out Andrew Benintendi who hit for Salvy as well as Santana to end the inning.
Now, to the bottom of the 9th where Richard Lovelady entered in hopes for his first save of the year. Tommy Edman was up first and struck out looking on a 2-2 slider. Harrison Bader was up next and popped it to catcher Cam Gallagher. On Bader’s way to first, he tomahawk spiked his bat in frustration. Lovelady’s first MLB save of his career was finished off with a backdoor slider to Dejong.
It was an ugly win, but it was a win.