The Kansas City Royals (11-12) faced the Baltimore Orioles (12-11) Saturday night in the second game of a three-game series at Camden Yards in Baltimore, losing to the birds 3-2 in the bottom of the tenth inning after a hit batsman and two throwing errors (on bunted balls) by reliever Danny Duffy loaded the bases with nobody out. Louis Coleman then relieved Duffy and struck out Nelson Cruz just to cruelly give Royals fans a faint glimmer of hope, which he then proceeded to grind into dust as he gave up the game-winning hit to the next batter – Nick Markakis.
Jeremy Guthrie started and gave up two runs in the first inning off two hits (Jemile Weeks and Nick Markakis) and a walk, but grew stingy over the next six innings and did a nice job overall (six hits / one walk / three strikeouts), leaving the game after seven with the score tied 2-2.
Wei-Yin Chen started for Baltimore, and also went seven innings, giving up nine hits and two walks, but just two runs.
The Royals offense was its usual ineffective small-ball self. They scored their two runs on eight singles and three doubles to go along with three walks, but left eleven men on base, and bunted many times throughout the night – including a successful (but ultimately unsuccessful) sacrifice by Jarrod Dyson with two strikes.
On the plus side, Sal Perez ripped some solid shots while going 3 for 5, and narrowly missed hitting the potential game-winning homer (ended up as a double off the right field wall) in the top of the tenth.
Also of note, Justin Maxwell was pinch-hit for by a guy hitting .150 (that’s gotta sting). Shockingly, it didn’t work out (who could’ve predicted that?). Bet Buck Showalter hasn’t seen that very often in his many decades in baseball.
Take heart, Royals fans. James Shields takes the hill tomorrow against some lesser pitcher for the Orioles. We have a good chance to pull out the series win, and battle back to that mythical .500 record. From there it’s on to the championship! (in about six more months).