Petco Park in San Diego is known as a pitcher’s haven. It certainly lived up to it’s reputation tonight, as the Kansas City Royals and the San Diego Padres struggled to score until Alex Gordon and Billy Butler provided the Royals with a 3-1 victory in eleven innings.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie found himself in trouble in the first, putting runners on the corners with one out. However, he was able to escape the jam by striking out Yasmani Grandal and getting Jedd Gyorko to pop up to the catcher.
Meanwhile, Padres starter Robbie Erlin was keeping the Royals offense in check, matching Guthrie zero for zero on the scoreboard. With both pitchers working quickly and efficiently, it seemed that one mistake could be the difference in the game.
That moment seemingly came when Grandal was able to revenge himself against Guthrie in the fourth inning. With one out, Grandal hooked a fly ball down the right field line that just made it over the wall, giving the Padres the first run of the game. Salvador Perez matched his counterpart behind the plate to lead off the sixth inning, driving a home run to left to tie the game at 1-1.
Aside from that one pitch to Grandal, Jeremy Guthrie was on cruise control against the Padres lineup. Over his eight innings, Guthrie allowed only that one run on four hits and a walk, striking out two. With that performance, Guthrie certainly deserved better than a no decision.
Alcides Escobar did his best to make sure that Guthrie came out with a victory. With one out, he hit a slow roller up the first base line, reaching safely on the infield hit. Using the Royals philosophy of manufacturing runs, Escobar promptly stole second and third, leaving Lorenzo Cain to only need to hit a fly ball to the outfield. Instead, Cain fouled out down the first base line, and the tagging Escobar attempted to score. While the throw from Kyle Blanks beat him easily, Escobar appeared to slide under the tag. However, he was called out on the play, and Ned Yost neglected to ask for a review.
Now a battle of the bullpens, the game remained tied heading into the top of the eleventh. Eric Hosmer led off the inning with a double off the base of the wall in left center. With one out, Alex Gordon grounded a single just past a diving Gyorko, plating Hosmer with the go ahead run. Pinch hitter Billy Butler then drove in Gordon with a ringing double of his own, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead. Greg Holland worked around a hit to record the save and preserve the Royals 3-1 win.
Wade Davis picked up the victory, allowing one hit over two shutout innings, striking out four batters. Escobar was 2-5 with two stolen bases in the win.