C'mon Chen!

Royals Win in Extra Innings on Wild Pitch

In what could best be described as a sleeper of a game, the Royals won Wednesday night with an extra innings dash towards home by Alex Gordon after a wild pitch from White Sox closer, Sergio Santos.

That’s about the only exciting thing that happened.

The first seven innings of the game might have been the fastest in Royals history as Bruce Chen and John Danks did their best to out change-up each other, allowing just nine hits and one run between the both of them. Chen, who finished the game going eight innings and allowing only five base runners while striking out four,  made his lone mistake of the game in the fifth, when Carlos Quentin lead off the inning with a home run to left.

Normally, given the Royals’ history for being on the losing side of well pitched games, that would have spelled doom for the home team. But with Danks removed from the game for a high pitch count to start the eighth, the White Sox bullpen struggles showed up in this game as they have all season.Matt Thornton entered and allowed a leadoff single to Gordon. After forcing Mitch Maier – who entered the game to replace an ailing Melky Cabrera – to pop out on a sacrifice bunt attempt, Billy Butler singled (that’s all he does!) setting up a first and third situation for Jeff Francoeur.

Captain Leadership immediately knocked a hustle double to right center scoring Gordon (Butler is too slow!) and tying the game at one-run apiece.

The next real scoring threat for either team wouldn’t come until the bottom half of the 10th inning when the Royals had first and third, and just one out. Chris Sale – last season’s first round pick for Chicago who at one time was rumored to be going to the Royals – got Brayan Pena to ground back to the mound, which brought up Mike Moustakas.

In what would normally be a sure pinch-hit situation for a struggling left-handed hitting Moustakas  (mired in a 0-22 slump) against a tough left-handed pitcher, before the game the Royals traded Wilson Betemit to Detroit for two minor leaguers, so Ned Yost was left with no real bench options for tonight’s game outside of Maier. Moustakas would end the inning by popping out weakly to second base.

Chicago would go quietly in their half of the 11th as Aaron Crow finished his two solid innings of work allowing just one hit.

The Royals’ half of the 11th didn’t start out so promising with Alcides Escobar striking out and Chris Getz grounding out weakly, but Gordon showed why he is the player best suited for the leadoff spot in this lineup by drawing a two out walk. His walk would be followed by a jam-job single from Maier, and Santos entered to face Butler.

After looking pretty bad all night and really for the better part of the last two weeks on sliders both down and away, Butler figured to get a steady diet of hard breaking stuff with the winning run just 90-feet away. After three sliders, none of which near the zone although he did swing at one, Santos uncorked another wide slider on the 2-1 pitch that skipped past White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

Gordon, who is a terrific base runner, scored easily to win the game.

The Royals’ season record sits at 40-58, 11 ½ games back of first place in the AL Central, and after an off day Thursday host the Tampa Bay Rays for a three-game set starting Friday night.

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