Baseball’s a funny game.
Instead, both were involved in misplays that led to three Royals runs in the first inning off of nemesis Jon Lester with two outs. Jarrod Dyson grounded out and Alex Gordon struck out against Lester, who owned a 1.30 ERA in seven career starts against Kansas City, including the last no-hitter against the Royals.
Then the Royals got Billy Butler on base with a walk. Jeff Francoeur singled. Johnny Giavotella, recalled Wednesday afternoon from Omaha, hit a hard tailing line drive to Byrd in center, but the ball went off his glove and bounced away from him. Butler scored and Francoeur went to third.
Brayan Pena doubled deep to left and Ross seemed to have caught the ball at first, but as he continued his stride, it came loose, left his glove, hit the left-field wall before he pulled it back in. The umpires ruled that he hadn’t secured the ball completely so when it hit the screen over the scoreboard on the wall, Butler and Giavotella had scored and Pena scurried back to second for a double.
The Royals left the first with a 3-0 lead and racked up 38 pitches.
Bruce Chen was solid in 6.2 innings, finding trouble in the top of the third when he loaded the bases but snuck a fastball past David Ortiz for the second out. Adrian Gonzalez doubled into the gap to clear the bases and tie the score, but they didn’t threaten Chen any other time.
The breaks went their way for a change, both at bat and in the field. A hard liner by Ortiz was right at Escobar. After Broxton gave up a single to Ross and walked Jarod Saltalamacchia, Byrd laid down a bunt to put the lead run in scoring position. Alex Gordon was positioned nearly perfectly to make a sliding catch of a Ryan Sweeney line drive, popped up and threw home to keep pinch runner Darnell McDonald at third. Broxton induced a Mike Aviles ground out to shut the door.
This is the kind of game the Royals would typically lose (and without Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas in the lineup too), but they caught a little luck. The result gives them a winning homestand, a breath of fresh air after their 0-fer to start the season. Winning two out of four games against the Yankees and taking the Red Sox series could start some positive momentum as the Royals head back on the road with a series against the White Sox starting on Friday.