After eight games, the wait is over. Alex Gordon hit the Kansas City Royals first home run of the season as part of a five run fifth inning as the Royals topped the Tampa Bay Rays 7-3.
Through the first three innings, it appeared as though today’s game would be more of the same for the Royals. They put runners on in the second and third innings, but were unable to capitalize on their chances. In the second, with one out, Mike Moustakas was called out on strikes and Alex Gordon was caught stealing third on a close play to end the inning. Alcides Escobar was then picked off at first to end the third, leaving the game tied.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie worked his way through trouble over the first three innings, but managed to escape unscathed. That scoreless draw lasted until the top of the fourth, when Desmond Jennings led off the frame with a home run to deep to center to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.
That shot seemed to wake up both Guthrie and the Royals offense. After retiring the next three batters, Kansas City went to work. Consecutive singles to start the inning off of Rays starter Jake Odorizzi put runners on the corners for Billy Butler, who hit a slow chopper up the third base line to tie the game. Gordon followed with a base hit, plating Eric Hosmer from second to give the Royals their first lead of the contest.
The offense was not done. In the fifth, Lorenzo Cain had his fourth infield hit of the homestand, and scored on a one out triple by Norichika Aoki. A sacrifice fly plated Aoki, and consecutive singles brought up Alex Gordon with the chance to potentially put the game away. He did just that, homering to right to give the Royals a 7-1 lead.
That was all Guthrie would need. He retired twelve in a row after Jennings’ home run, as he recorded his first 1-2-3 innings of the season. For the game, Guthrie allowed one run on four hits, a walk and a hit batsman, striking out four.
Tampa Bay cut into the lead in the top of the ninth. Jennings struck once again, with an RBI double to center before scoring on a groundout to cut the lead to 7-3. However, the Rays were unable to get any closer, as Kelvin Herrera pitched out of any further trouble to close down the victory. The win evens the Royals record at 4-4 as they enjoy a day off before heading to Minnesota for a three game series against the Twins.
Gordon was the star of the game offensively, going 2-4 with a home run and four RBIs. Alcides Escobar made several excellent plays in the field, including this amazing catch of Ryan Hanigan‘s popup in the second inning.