After two games and three days of tension, panic, and frustration, the Royals put one in the win column for the first time in the important 2013 season.
Jeremy Guthrie cruised through six innings against the Chicago White Sox, racking up nine strikeouts against just five hits and one walk surrendered in the 3-1 win. Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo found him particularly tough, as Dunn struck out twice against him and Viciedo struck out three times against Guthrie. Both added one more strikeout before their day was done.
After Guthrie retired the first seven batters, offensive monster Tyler Flowers walked and Gordon Beckham singled, but Guthrie was able to induce a double play to get out of the inning. His only other problem inning came in the fifth when he got two quick outs, then hit Flowers with a pitch and Beckham again singled (both players would reach base everytime they went up to bat today). Alejandro de Aza singled to right to get Flowers home, but Guthrie struck out Jeff Keppinger to end the inning and strand two runners.
The Royals did their damage in the fifth as well. Eric Hosmer worked a seven pitch, one out walk and moved to third on a hit and run single by Jeff Francoeur. Jarrod Dyson hit a chopper to first for an out but it allowed Hosmer to score and Francoeur to reach second base. Chris Getz singled to center and went to second on an error by de Aza (which also allowed Francoeur to score). Alex Gordon doubled to right and brought Getz in and the three runs were all the Royals would need.
Guthrie exited after six innings, but the bullpen held the lead, as Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland worked an inning each to keep the White Sox off the board. Holland had to work himself out of a two out, two on jam but finished the job.
The Royals offense is still a little slow to get in gear after three games, mustering only five hits against Gavin Floyd and Hector Santiago. In the series, they scored a total of five runs, and two of those went unearned due to errors. The White Sox outfield committed three errors in the series to help the Royals out.
After two early losses, there was a lot of frustration among many Royals fans. The offense left runners on in the first two games, and with a couple of breaks, could have won all three games. Say Billy Butler gets a hit in the third inning on Monday, maybe two runs score and the Royals get the win. Maybe Alex Gordon is one foot more to his left while scaling the left field wall to try for what would become a Viciedo homer and it’s an out instead – that makes it a 3-2 game and now it’s not as comfortable for Chicago.
But the Royals didn’t get those breaks and two early losses (even against Cy Young caliber pitchers) caused much teeth-gnashing. Ideally, a win calms the masses down a bit from a collective panic. The Royals won’t win every game. There are plenty who don’t think they’ll win half of their games. There are holes on this team, but not as many as in the past. If the team’s still dropping two out of three every series into May, then doom and gloom is warranted. Not now.
We’ll see if the win inspires the Royals to National League success, as they head to Philadelphia for a three game series. Wade Davis makes his Royals debut against Kyle Kendrick of the Phillies in the first game.