A day after the Royals were embarrassed by the Minnesota Twins, they turned to Jason Vargas in the rubber match. Vargas did his part, stifling the Twins offense in the Royals 4-0 victory this afternoon.
The Royals offense struck early against Twins starter Kevin Correia. With one out in the second and a runner on first, Omar Infante hit a ground rule double to right, putting runners on second and third. Mike Moustakas followed with a base hit, giving the Royals their first run of the game and putting runners at the corners. A single by Jarrod Dyson gave the Royals a 2-0 lead. After a fly out, Eric Hosmer walked to load the bases, giving the Royals a chance to open the game up early, but Correia struck out Billy Butler to end the threat.
As it turned out, those were the only runs that Vargas needed. He made easy work of the Twins lineup, never really finding himself in a truly difficult spot as he kept Minnesota off balance for much of the afternoon. In fact, the Twins never got a runner past second against Vargas.
The Royals added insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings. Raul Ibanez did the honors in the top of the eighth, hitting a solo home run to right for his first in a Royals uniform since September 22, 2003. Perhaps the 42 year old Ibanez really does have a bit of life left in his bat after all. Kansas City added another run in the ninth with one out. Alcides Escobar doubled to deep right, and came around to score on Hosmer’s RBI single to left. Wade Davis and Greg Holland pitched the final two innings to preserve the Royals 4-0 victory.
Jason Vargas earned the win, pitching seven scoreless innings while allowing only four hits and two walks, striking out five. With the way he has pitched for the Royals, Vargas could make a case to come back to Target Field in another couple of weeks as part of the All-Star festivities.
After being ice cold for the most of June, Eric Hosmer is heating up, as he was 1-2 with an RBI and three walks. Ibanez was 2-4 with a home run and two runs scored in the victory.