August 9, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Will Smith (53) pitches in the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Royals defeated the Orioles 8 - 2. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Will Smith Stays Out of Trouble, Royals Offense Pours It On in Win

Will Smith got some help from his offense and Salvador Perez behind the plate and struck out a career high seven batters in throwing seven scoreless in the Royals 9-1 win over Minnesota on Tuesday.

Smith put runners two runners on to start an inning three times but managed to sneak out of each jam. In the first, the leadoff and second batter both singled, but a Perez throw to second on a stolen base attempt cut off Jamey Carroll for the second out and Smith struck out Justin Morneau to end the inning. In the fourth he gave up a hit and a walk but a double play got two outs and he got out of trouble again. Perez caught another runner stealing in the fifth after back to back walks opened the inning.The Twins never put together much of anything against him.

Along with the strikeouts, Smith got six outs via ground balls and only two from fly balls. Johnny Giavotella started a double play with a nice flip from his glove to Alcides Escobar at short, then he gloved a grounder up the middle with a backhand and threw the runner out.

Behind all that, the Royals bats came alive.

Lorenzo Cain got the first big hit in the second with a fly ball that Josh Willingham lost that went for a triple that scored Jeff Francoeur and Eric Hosmer. After a double to lead off the game and a single, Cain finished the night a homer short of the cycle. He was hit in the helmet by Luis Perdomo but was fine after shaking it off and scored on Escobar’s triple, the Royals third on the night.

The Royals pounded out 16 hits with five batters getting multiple hits. Hosmer and Giavotella were productive at the bottom of the order with three hits apiece. Hosmer doubled and homered to the opposite field and Giavotella ripped a double in to the left field gap and drove in a run on a single up the middle as well.

Perez filled up the stat sheet. He went 2-4, extending his hitting streak to 15 games (a team high), threw out two runners, advanced to third on a wild pitch and drove in a run.

The only Royal who didn’t get a hit was Mike Moustakas, but he still walked once, so every batter reached base. Cain is now 12 for his last 29, Perez is hitting .349 during his streak and Giavotella is 10-27 in the month of September.

Tomorrow night, the Royals will send Luke Hochevar against P.J. Walters. In Hochevar’s last start against the Twins, he was pulled after 1.2 innings after giving up eight runs. He threw 6.1 innings against the Rangers his last time out, giving up four runs.

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Tags: Kansas City Royals Will Smith

  • jimfetterolf

    Mike, you’re the pitching guru around here, what’s your take on Will Smith? Is he fer realz? Looks like a nice curve, but has a tendency to pitch up a little much and needs a loose ‘zone, but I like his composure and presence on the mound and he reminds me a little of Paul Splittorff with his general air of stolid unflappability.

    For our readers, I may be slowly adjusting my views on Johnny Giavotella. Coach Rodriguez has made an adjustment to his “set” defensively before the pitch, keeping him in motion rather than stopped, and he’s looking quicker to the ball. Bat is coming around also, not only passed Frenchy in BA but passed Hosmer and caught Moose. I believe players can change and adjust and am rooting for the young man. He may not be Yuni v2.0 after all.

    • Michael Engel

      I’ve always liked Smith since the Royals got him. He’s got good walkrates in the minors with some ability to get strikeouts. I don’t think he’s ever going to lead a staff but he could be a really good #4 starter who can chew up a lot of innings and give you a chance to win when he starts. He does seem to be a tough guy, too. I know a lot of people were howling after he made his MLB debut in Yankee Stadium, but perhaps the Royals knew he was a guy who could handle it regardless of the result.

      Also I was thinking last night that Gio seems to be a lot more fluid – like he’s gotten out of his head and is just playing the game, going off instinct. He looks comfortable and it’s paying off. He still has a lot to do but I think he has one error since Getz went on the DL (didn’t look it up) and that was on a throw making the turn on a double play rather than something routine like a popup he’s taken off the face before…