The Bronx Bombers ain’t got nothing on Salvy. But first, let’s set the stage.
It was a pitcher’s duel through four innings before the Royal rookies took over the game for a half inning. Vinnie Pasquantino led off with a walk, something Yankees’ starter Jordan Montgomery is not particularly known for. That opened the floodgates and Montgomery found himself unable to record another out. Michael A. Taylor also walked then MJ Melendez whacked a single to load the bases for Nick Pratto. Pratto sliced a line drive into left-field, which the diving Andrew Benintendi could not reach. You’d think that would be a double with a good chance of being a triple, but Melendez failed to advance past second, and so Pratto was restricted to a two-RBI single. Maikel Garcia then whacked his first major league extra-base hit, an RBI double that saw runners at second and third with no outs. The Royals, unfortunately, were restricted to only one more run as the contact play finally paid off when Whit Merrifield grounded out to drive in Pratto.
Zack Greinke went out for the fifth inning amid pleas from the Royals broadcasters to get a shutdown inning. Greinke did not shut down the Yankees. He allowed three hits and three runs to the first four batters he faced in the inning; a lead-off double for Matt Carpenter, an RBI-single by Kyle Higashioka, and a two-run bomb into the right field seats for DJ LeMahieu. Still, he stemmed the tide there, and the lead continued until the seventh.
In the seventh, Jose Cuas got the first out and then walked the next two batters. Dylan Coleman was asked to escape the jam. He immediately gave up a home run to Anthony Rizzo, giving the Yankees a two-run lead. That seemed like more than enough to defeat the Royals since the Yankees’ bullpen had yet to allow a run to the Royals this season.
So, of course, Hunter Dozier led off the eighth with a solo shot and Vinnie Pasquantino very nearly went back-to-back but ended up striking out on a pitch that seemed pretty clearly outside. From there, it seemed clear the Royals weren’t going to get it done. I started writing my recap bemoaning the fact that the Royals had been swept in the season series.
I should have known better.
In the top of the ninth, the Yankees asked their recently promoted closer, Clay Holmes, to get the last three outs. He got pinch-hitter Nicky Lopez (lol) out on a grounder to second. Then he seemed to completely lose control. He walked Whit Merrifield and nearly hit him. He did hit Bobby Witt Jr.; Witt was then replaced by pinch runner Kyle Isbel, almost certainly because of the hamstring injury and not because of the HBP. Salvador Perez then did Salvador Perez things. He was almost hit by a pitch, then waved weakly at a pitch way outside, and then...
He doesn’t hit any cheap ones, does he?
Taylor Clarke, who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, was asked to secure his own win in the ninth. He allowed a single and a walk but escaped without giving up the lead again.
- Holmes came into the game with a 1.20 ERA on the season. In only one other appearance in July had he allowed runs; he gave up four against the Reds back on July 12. When it rains it pours for Holmes.
- Coming off the Injured List, Salvy has picked right back up from he had left off; coming into today’s game, he was slashing .244/.294/.564 since the start of June for a 134 wRC+.
- The Royals end the month of July with a 13-15 record; if they keep that up, they won’t lose 100 games, but they’ll still lose a lot more than they win.
The Royals will kick off August tomorrow night with a three-game series against the White Sox in Chicago. The Royals will send Brad Keller to the mound and the White Sox will counter with Michael Kopech. By ERA, Kopech will be the most difficult pitcher the Royals will face. Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn have both had disappointing seasons for the White Sox.