Saturday EASILY marked the most exciting Royals game of the season so far, and also marked the first bench clearing incident(s) in the league this year.
The Royals (3-5), sparked by the second bench clearing event, rallied from a 9-2 deficit to tie the game 9-all on Yuni-Bomber’s 8th inning solo HR down the left field line, only to fall when the instigator of the hostility, Shin Soo-Choo, got the last laugh with a just-missed homerun doubling in two runs in the 10th off the top of the fence, just an inch out of the reach of leaping 5-foot-8 CF Jarrod Dyson.
Royals starter Jonathan Sanchez (1-1), making his Kauffman Stadium debut, hit Choo with a pitch last season, breaking his wrist, sidelining him for MOST of the second half of the season.
In the midst of Cleveland’s five run third inning, Sanchez hit Choo, who took exception and had and said a few choice words to Sanchez, who was clearly wild – he could hardly throw a strike, walking five in 2 and 2/3 innings – and had no intent to hit Choo. The benches then cleared and the bullpen emptied, but not much happened.
Sanchez did not survive the inning, finishing with five walks, five earned runs on six hits and just one strikeout.
Jeanamar Gomez, who was rolling with no runs in two innings, lost his chance at a win by hitting Mike Moustakas on the second pitch – the first was inside and missed.
The Royals capitalized with two runs on an Escobar triple and Dyson sacrifice fly.
But, little Timmy Collins then allowed four runs, including two homeruns in his second inning of the night, sending the Royals to a 9-2 deficit. But, the Royals were not done, scoring two runs in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to pull within 9-8, and a hobbling Betancourt homered to tie it at 9-all.
Jose Ascencio (1-1) made a HUGE mistake by walking Dyson, the fastest guy in the majors, to open the ninth, but was bailed out when he was caught stealing (it appeared he was safe).
Then, Greg Holland allowed back-to-back singles to open the 10th, with both runners scoring on Choo’s double.
A tough loss for the Royals, who rallied all the way back to tie it at 9, just to lose. Now, the Indians (3-4), who entered the game as the worst hitting team (.176 average) in baseball, but have now pounded out 26 hits in two games.
- Michael Brantley, who came into Friday batting .095, has batted TWICE in an inning TWICE in this series.
- Two guys (Jason Kipinis, Casey Kotchman) batting .120 hit HR’s in the SAME inning (the 4-run inning off Collins).
- Royals used all of their RP’s last night besides Teaford – who went four innings in relief of Hochevar on Friday, throwing five guys just one inning. Yost said he decided to do that, so they could all be available again today. Kelvin Herrera and Aaron Crow mowed through 1-2-3 innings in 10 pitches or less in their innings of work. They could have EASILY went another inning. How about worrying about tomorrow tomorrow and worry about winning the game tonight?
- Speaking of Herrera, he looked IMPRESSIVE. His 10 pitch sequence: 101 mph, 99, 102, 102, 101, 101, 89, 82, 100, 100. WOW. Two strikeouts.
- Butler had two more doubles last night, and now leads the league with seven. No surprise here, as he has the most doubles in the league over the last three season, dating back to 2009.
- Moustakas doubled twice and now has four on the year. He also had two Web Gem-worthy plays at third base. His defense looks MUCH improved this year.
- So much for that starting rotation. After going 3-1 with a 1.85 ERA on the six-game road trip to open season, they have now allowed 12 runs in less than seven innings. In addition, the staff as a whole allowed just 18 runs on the trip (3 runs per), but has already allowed 19 runs in the first two games of this homestand.
- The Royals have now lost three straight and are 1-4 since opening the season winning two of three over the Angels.
- The Royals lost the second game of a series for the first time this year.
After the game Choo saying he knew Sanchez wasn’t trying to hit him and he may have overreacted, but it didn’t stop Chris Perez and Jack Hanahan – the instigator in the second incident shown above from running their mouth’s.
“Huge team win tonight; time for a sweep to tell the Royals it’s not Our Time, but it’sTribe Time,” said Perez, the closer with an ERA just barely under 8. “P.S. You hit us, we hit you. Period.”
Hanahan added, “You hit our studs, we hit yours. That is the way baseball has always been played. That’s the way it should be played.”
This should to an interesting series finale today – a game the Royals HAVE to win as Luis Mendoza (0-1, 1.59 ERA) faces former NL Cy Young winner Ubaldo Jimenez (0-0, 2.57 ERA).
If I am the Royals – if their are no warnings issued before the game, I’m plunking someone in the first inning, or Hanahan. Then warnings will be issued, and any retaliation will result in an ejection. I like that this could be turning into a rivalry. Both teams are considered up and coming and SHOULD battle for second place in the AL Central.
Hanahan, Gomez and manager Manny Acta were all ejected after the second fracas, when the Royals offense began to come alive.
CF Michael Brantley .143 AVG/0 HR/1 RBI/.250 OBP/.286 SLUG
SS Absdrubal Cabrera .294/2/3/.333/.559
RF Shin Soo-Choo .222/0/4/.417/.259
DH Travis Hafner .200/1/4/.304/.400
LF Shelley Duncan .304/1/3/.429/.478
1B Casey Kotchman .143/1/2/.200/.250
2B Jason Kipinis .179/2/6/.233/.464
3B Jack Hanahan .300/1/5/.391/.450
C Lou Marson .000/0/0/.000/.000
LF Alex Gordon .133/1/3/.235/.233
2B Chris Getz .250/0/1/.250/.313
1B Eric Hosmer .206/2/6/.270/.412
DH Billy Butler .303/2/7/.324/.636
RF Jeff Francouer .333/0/2/.375/.400
3B Mike Moustakas .231/1/5/.259/.500
C Brayan Pena .182/0/0/.182/.273
CF Mitch Maier .143/1/1/.250/.571
SS Alcides Escobar .258/0/1/.281/.355