The KC Royals continue to make things interesting for Major League Baseball and their fans with a 7-2 win over visiting Cleveland. The Indians are a game back of the final American League Wild Card spot, but the Royals are just three games back (tied with the NY Yankees). The Royals once again took two of three from the Indians.
The Royals jumped on Indians rookie starter Danny Salazar for three runs in the very first inning. Everything happened with two outs. Eric Hosmer singled and Billy Butler worked a walk. That brought up Salvador Perez, who doubled in two runs for the early lead. Salazar threw a wild pitch to allow the final run to score.
Salazar threw a ton of pitches in the first and was on a strict pitch count of 85 pitches. He made it through six innings without hitting his limit.
Meanwhile, Royals starter Bruce Chen retired the first six batters he faced before struggling in the third. Yan Gomes singled to start the inning and came around to score on Michael Brantley‘s double. After a sac bunt, Michael Bourn cut the deficit to 3-2 by driving in a run with a sac fly.
After allowing a Nick Swisher single, Chen went on to retire the next seven batters before getting into trouble in the sixth. He allowed a leadoff single to Bourn, a stolen base, and walked Swisher before he was chased from the game.
One night after the Royals bullpen blew the game, tonight the bullpen allowed just one hit over the game’s final four innings. Five relievers combined to record the game’s final 12 outs.
It all started with Francisley Bueno (remember him?), who got a sac bunt and a ground out without allowing a run in the sixth. Next was Louis Coleman, who got Ryan Raburn to fly out to end the threat in the sixth.
After recording two outs and not allowing a base runner in the seventh, Coleman was replaced by lefty Tim Collins, who allowed a single but then induced a ground out to end the inning.
You may be wondering, why Holland in the ninth? It wasn’t a save situation. Well, it was when he started warming up in the bottom of the eighth (the Royals led 4-2).
The Royals scored three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to break the game open against four Indians relievers. A bases loaded walk drove in the first run before Alcides Escobar drove in two runs with a single.
Next up, the Royals welcome the Texas Rangers to town for three games beginning on Friday night. The Rangers currently are holding on to the final AL WC spot.