Perez got the day off due to sore hands from foul balls behind the plate so Brayan Pena filled in, got two hits and drove in two runs including an eighth inning double down the line that scored Jeff Francoeur from first to give the Royals a nice cushion. Gordon hurt his hand diving into home in last night’s game and Ned Yost said there was some swelling, so David Lough got the start in left field with Jarrod Dyson leading off and playing center field. He still came in late when Dyson left the game. He’d been fighting with lat soreness and hadn’t been in the field or at the plate and Gordon provided a better arm in the outfield late.
Luis Mendoza threw six good innings after nine days off due to strep throat. He gave up eight hits but was able to work out of jams in the first and third innings. Eight of his outs came on the ground. His ERA falls to 4.44 after the win.
The Indians made it interesting though. In the seventh they scored twice to pull it to within one after Carlos Santana singled up the middle, but a strikeout and line out later and the rally was over. Francisely Bueno gave up a single but otherwise had a clean eighth inning and Greg Holland dispatched the Indians late with three easy outs to close it out.
Nobody really stood out tonight – the only extra base hit was Pena’s double, but everyone did something. Mike Moustakas drove in two on outs, first with a sacrifice fly in the third, then with a ground out in the fifth. Eric Hosmer added a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Francoeur’s hustle helped that play come about. With runners on first and second after Moustakas and Billy Butler singles, Francoeur hit a sharp grounder to third. Butler was out at second but Francoeur hustled down the line and was safe. Instead of two outs and a runner on third (and let’s say Hosmer flies out, ending the inning), the Royals were able to score with a runner on third and less than two outs. Then, because the inning was alive, Francoeur added another run on the double.
The plan seems to be to let Perez get the weekend off to rest. The Royals have Pena, Manny Pina and Adam Moore up now and Yost has said that Moore will probably catch Jake Odorizzi‘s major league debut on Sunday due to their familiarity with each other after their time in Omaha since July. Since Gordon played the last two innings tonight, he should be fine for tomorrow’s game.
Speaking of which, Will Smith throws tomorrow. Cleveland will send out Ubaldo Jimenez. The Royals are now 8-5 against the Indians on the season and are 12 games under .500. They’re firmly in third place with seven games on the Twins. They’re technically not eliminated from playoff contention. They would have to win every single game the rest of the season and get Chicago to lose every game as well and Detroit can’t win more than two games against the Twins. I don’t even want to know the odds of that happening but I’d imagine it’s awfully slim.
“So you’re saying there’s a chance?”