In a ridiculously fast game at Kauffman Stadium, Vinnie Pasquantino and Nick Pratto each had three hits as the Royals shut out Baltimore in a 3-0 victory.
This was the perfect storm for a rapid game: two starting pitchers that throw lots of strikes, two offenses that love to swing early in the count, and a pitch timer to keep things moving. Zack Greinke and Kyle Gibson went right after hitters and each got through a 1-2-3 first inning. The Royals threatened in the second when Pratto roped a two-out double down the right field line. Michael Massey blooped in a single, but Pratto was gunned down at the plate by an excellent throw from Kyle Stowers in left field.
No worries though: the Royals managed to get on the board in the fourth when Pasquantino led off the inning with a bomb into the right field bullpen.
You’ll notice I haven’t had much reason to talk about Baltimore’s offense so far. They haven’t given me a reason to. Through five innings, they had recorded just three singles. Greinke was sitting at 44 pitches. He seemed to be on cruise control. Yet Greinke did not come out for the sixth inning. He wasn’t hurt and it’s not like there was a tough matchup waiting - old friend Ryan O’Hearn was scheduled to lead off. I guess this is that Rays effect from Matt Quatraro, not letting Baltimore hitters see Greinke a third time. He could start on Friday now. Taylor Clarke came in and worked around a blooper from Adley Rutschman for a scoreless inning.
The Royals scored another when Kyle Isbel chopped a single to lead off the inning. He was forced out on a grounder by Bobby Witt Jr., but Witt promptly stole second and then scored on a Pasquantino double.
Chapman threw a scoreless seventh and going to the bottom of the frame, I started dreaming about a record-fast game. Gibson had thrown just 57 pitches entering the frame.
UnFortunately, the Royals dashed these dreams by breaking the game open. Edward Olivares led off the inning with a groundout. Here’s how the rest of the inning went: single, single, sac fly, double, triple, double, lineout. Though it required a blood sacrifice from Isbel, the Royals finished the seventh holding a comfortable 6-0 lead.
The rest of the game went smoothly as the bullpen took care of business. Birthday boy Amir Garrett worked around an Adam Frazier leadoff walk for a scoreless eighth. Rex Hudler did a Michael Jackson impression on-air. The Royals threatened in the eighth but didn’t score. Josh Staumont worked around a double by Ryan Mountcastle to slam the door in the ninth.
- Every Royal recorded at least one hard-hit ball (95+ mph exit velo) against Gibson.
- Frazier’s leadoff walk in the eighth was the first and only walk of the game by either team.
- Pratto recorded 3+ hits in two of his 49 big league games in 2022. He has done so twice in seven big league games this season.
- The official time of game was one hour and 59 minutes. In the past ten seasons, there had been just eight nine-inning games finished in under two hours. This is the fourth such game this season. The last such game the Royals played in was in 2011 at Tampa Bay.
The victory is Kansas City’s first win at home in a month and snaps a ten-game home losing streak. The teams will meet again tomorrow afternoon for the rubber match at Kauffman Stadium.
Zack Greinke: 5.0 IP, 3 H 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 HR
Kyle Gibson: 6.2 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HR
Vinnie Pasquantino: 3-4, 2 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI
Anthony Santander: 2-4