It was “Husker” night at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday as the Royals and Giants played the second game of their 3-game series, so it was only fitting when a U of Nebraska alumnus — left fielder Alex Gordon — gave the near-capacity crowd a thrill with a fifth inning bomb. That solo homer was about the only exciting thing that happened through the first six innings of the contest as opposing veterans James Shields and Tim Hudson put on a superb display of big league pitching.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Hudson finally faltered and opened the door for a big inning by Royals hitters. Butler doubled, Gordon singled, Cain singled, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy called on lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt – a former Royal. Fortunately, that decision didn’t work. Moose doubled, Escobar singled, Dyson singled. By the time Bochy sent Jean Machi out to take over from Affeldt, the score was 5-0, KC. With the Royals bullpen and a 5-run lead?…Good luck coming back. Not that the Royals needed their bullpen tonight.
James Shields pitched a gem. A complete game shutout. In complete control, he allowed only five base runners (four hits and one BB) all night. Masterful job.
This is the sixth series the Royals have won in a row (that’s consecutively), and it appears they will never be beaten again.
They’re now 1.5 games behind first-place Detroit. Are those footsteps the Tigers are hearing in Motown? Or just the ticking of the clock as Father Time reminds us all who’s boss? There’s a lot of miles on those ol’ Tigers bodies. Tons of talent – true. But older legs get heavier as the games pile up.
It’s been so pleasant being a Royals fan these last few weeks. Billy is hitting like Billy again. Moose is producing well. The bullpen is lights out. Starting pitchers are solid. Defense is air tight. Winning makes everything better.
Yet still…all this pleasantness makes me uneasy. This is the Royals we’re talking about here. This isn’t supposed to happen. We’re supposed to have gloom, bitterness, and disgust. What’s wrong? Don’t they love us any more?
The more neurotic among us, and I mean you, not me, may need help dealing with all this success. Fortunately, there’s ready access to pharmaceutical assistance in our enlightened society.
But don’t get so medicated you sleep through the final game of the series Sunday afternoon, as the Royals go for their second straight sweep. This hot streak is way too good to miss.