The only good thing to come out of St. Louis is I-70 (you could argue Anheuser Busch) and the Royals trekked down it this weekend and came back taking two of three from the Cards with one of the most bizarre endings you’ll ever see on Friday to Billy Butler’s “sit down, shut up” game-tying homerun in Sunday’s 15-inning marathon.
On Friday night, Vin Mazzaro looked more and more like a MLB pitcher. The former Oakland A’s top pitching prospect, went six shutout innings in 80 pitches before leaving via injury with a 3-0 lead. Inexplicitaly, Roman Colon makes his season debut and instantly allows two runs in the seventh. The score remained the same in the ninth inning, when things got REALLY interesting as big Jonathan Broxton came out to try and lock down his 100th save. He got it, ending like no other save he’d registered.
First it started with Alcides Escobar robbing Yadi Molina in the hole to start the inning:
Then, with two outs Tyler Greene attempted to steal second, and all hell broke loose:
Absolutely incredible. What an unbelievable ending. Have you ever seen anything like it?
Moose’s throw had to be perfect and it was. Not too many 3B’s in the league could have made that throw. Dude has a cannon and an accurate one at that.
Not to be outdone in late-game heroics, Billy Butler – who was only making his making his second AB of the series as Hosmer started all three games, stupid interleague rules – down 0-2 to Cards closer Jason Motte, who blew away Frenchy and Moose with nothing but 98 mph fastballs, couldnt sneak a third one past Butler, who shoved the fastball straight up Motte’s ass with a 430-foot bomb to tie the game:
One of the best moments of the year so far, for sure.
The Royals would go on and win it in 15. The YuniBomber Yuni Betancourt drove in Alex Gordon, who reached base five times, all walks – tying a career and franchise best – but scored just the one run, with a double down the left field line:
Broxton would then blow the save as Molina knocked in the tying run with a 2-out pinch-hit single. The Royals caught a major break when Allen Craig, who scored the tying run anyway, did not tag up and score on a liner to CF Jarrod Dyson.
No worries, though, as Yuni came through again, belting a two-run HR the following inning to put the Royals up 5-3:
Broxton then came back out and was all business, attacking the zone to earn the win.
The Royals pulled out two dramatic wins, but almost pulled out the sweep with an intense comeback on Saturday. Bruce Chen was dreadful (6 ER, 1 2/3 IP), but the Royals chipped away at the 6-1 deficit and took a 7-6 lead after Moustakas’ RBI single before the bullpen gave it back in the 10-7 loss.
Moose went 3-5 with his second career 4 RBI game, belted a homer and scored two runs to break a 5-33 skid at the plate that saw his average drop from .295 to .272.
Moose also registered three hits in the 5-3 win on Sunday.
Also on Sunday, Getz left the game in the first inning, enter Betancourt, who still managed to register seven AB’s. On cue in his first inning in the field, Yuni made this dazzling catch:
But, not to be outdone, Esky, who already pulled off one of the best defensive plays of the year on Friday, made this look easy:
- Escobar, who has been hovering around .290-.300 all season, and is the best defensive shortstop in the AL, deserves to make the All-Star game, but wont. Regardless, that is great for Royals fans that you can make the claim that he deserves it after hitting just .254 last season and was abysmal at the plate minus a 3-week stretch when he was the best hitter in the league.
- Is Vin Mazzaro becoming a legit MLB pitcher? He is now 3-1 with a sub-3 ERA (2.57) after his six scoreless innings on Friday.
- Alex Gordon has been producing since moving back to the leadoff role. He has hit safely in seven of his last eight games, batting.400 (14 for 35) with one homer, four doubles, six RBI and nine runs in that span (the only game he did not get a hit was Sunday’s 5-walk game). In 20 games since moving to the leadoff spot, Gordon is batting .342 with a .453 OBP, .506 slugging percentage and .959 OPS. He might have just one homer and four RBI in that span, but he does have 10 doubles, 15 walks and 16 runs. He’s back folks. After seeing his batting average dip to .226 in late May, manager Ned Yost made the choice to put Gordon back in the top spot, where Gordon says he feels most comfortable, in the lineup and the gamble has paid off.
- Tim Collins allowed his first run ALL SEASON on the road today as the Cards tied the game, and his first run in 16 appearances all together.
- Bruce Chen became the first pitcher in Royals history to register a pinch-hit AND Billy Butler became the first Royal to hit a pinch hit HR since Wilson Betemit last June at Colorado.
- The last 19 I-70 Series games have been decided by three runs or less and the Royals now have a winning record in St. Louis, but have been owned in KC.
- The Royals had not won a game when leading after eight all season, but are now 3-1 in that scenario the last four games.
- And last, but not least, the self-proclaimed “greatest fans in baseball” were appalled by Butler admiring his HR. Have they forgotten that Pujols did it EVERY DAMN TIME? Short memories. Butler deserved to look at that – as long as he wanted – after that bomb delivered the Royals back from a nine count with one knee still on the mat. Pujols did a bat toss on damn walks…oh, and nothing was better than hearing the “best fans in baseball” let out a collective gasp as Butler connected on the high heater and then watch them dessert the park an inning later.