Tonight’s game will be known for much more than the final score when all the dust settles. A freak pre-game injury to Mariano Rivera that may end his career will be the big story. Nonetheless, the game goes on and the Royals managed to hang on to a 4-3 lead to win their first home game of 2012.
Mike Moustakas was the key at the plate and in the field, as he drove in three of the Royals runs on a home run and a bases loaded single. Then he made the game’s final play to preserve the win. Alex Rodriguez fought back from an 0-2 count to get it full, then hit a slow dribbler in front of third. As Derek Jeter ran home, Moustakas charged the ball, barehanded it and threw it to Eric Hosmer at first to beat Rodriguez.
The play before was even bigger, as Jonathan Broxton started the top of the ninth by giving up a single to Derek Jeter, then surrendered a walk to Curtis Granderson. A typical Royals meltdown seemed imminent, but Chris Getz snagged a hard grounder up the middle and flipped it to Alcides Escobar. On the turn, Escobar’s throw bounced and went to the side of Eric Hosmer, but he scooped it to finish the double play. Then Rodriguez ended the game.
The win helped Danny Duffy to his second win of the year after the lefty threw 90 pitches in 5.1 innings after missing his last turn in the rotation with elbow stiffness. Duffy came back out to face Rodriguez in the top of the fifth, struck him out on three straight pitches, then gave up a single to Robinson Cano and was relieved. In another situation, he may have stayed in, but with a rising pitch count the Royals played it safe.
When he was on the mound, though, Duffy looked strong, hitting his spots in most innings and getting batters to miss his fastball. He worked in the mid-90s a lot of the night, mixing in a changeup a bit more when his curveball was getting away from him. Hopefully that’s just an issue of having a feel for the pitch rather than lingering elbow tightness. He resembled the same pitcher we saw in his first two starts where he shut down Oakland then dueled with Justin Verlander. The top five of the Yankees order went 4-13 against Duffy, but he got five of his six strikeouts against them.
Eric Hosmer drove in the Royals fourth run on a single up the middle. He hadded a hard line drive single two innings later. He’s been hitting the ball hard for a while now, but tonight he wasn’t hitting it right at a fielder. Jarrod Dyson added two singles and worked in a pair of long at bats at the top of the lineup.