Luke Hochevar had his most efficient start of the year, holding the Oakland A’s to one run over seven innings, but got a no decision. Aaron Crow gave up his first runs of the year, allowing Cliff Pennington to tie the score with a homer in the eighth.
Eric Hosmer got his first major league hit – a single through the hole at second. He was also intentionally walked in the bottom of the ninth.
And for the sixth time this year, the Royals won in walk-off fashion.
After leading off with a single in the bottom of the ninth, Billy Butler gave way to Jarrod Dyson as a pinch runner. He went first to third on a single by Jeff Francoeur and, after the intentional pass to Hosmer loaded the bases, Mike Aviles lifted a medium depth fly ball to left field. Dyson tagged and scored.
Business as usual.
Hochevar was very effective, hitting the corners and rolled along, never pitching with more than one runner on base. He scattered four hits and walked none. After a single by Andy LaRoche led off the eighth inning, Ned Yost pulled him before anything could get hairy.
It still did. Crow came in and gave up a bouncer up the middle to Ryan Sweeney then left a ball over the plate that got deposited into the right field bullpen by Pennington. Before that he’d had 15.1 innings of scoreless pitching to start his major league career. He rebounded by getting three outs after a Coco Crisp double followed the homer.
Crisp seemed to have a big brain freeze that helped the Royals out quite a bit. After his double and with no outs, it looked like he should have been able to advance to third base on a chopper by Daric Barton to Crow. Crow turned to look Crisp back and seemed surprised that he wasn’t going, barely turning to fire a throw to Hosmer at first to retire Barton. David DeJesus followed that up with a deep fly to center that would have scored anyone from third, and when Josh Willingham struck out looking to end the inning, the Royals had escaped with the score remaining tied.
Hosmer looked alright in his second game. He’s showing good patience at the plate, and getting good swings off major leaguers. He could have gotten his first hit in the bottom of the second but Willingham made a great diving catch in the gap to steal a hit from him. He later took an off balance swing in the seventh that was still struck hard but was a lineout to center.
Then he was walked intentionally with Jeff Francoeur and Jarrod Dyson on first and third to set up a forceout at every base. I think it was the right baseball move anyway, but Hosmer’s bat skills were enough to make it a nice perk to work around him for the A’s. A Mike Aviles, Matt Treanor and Alcides Escobar trio could easily squander the game-winning opportunity, so I wouldn’t go crazy saying “Oh, they’re afraid of him already.”
Then again…he IS Eric Hosmer.