In his first two starts back from the disabled list, Jason Vargas showed flashes of dominance before tiring. Tonight, Vargas proved he was truly back, shutting down the Oakland A’s as the Royals won 3-0.
Vargas and Oakland starter Scott Kazmir matched each other almost exactly over the first two innings. Both teams had runners at the corners with two out in the first, but were unable to push a run across. Likewise, in the second, both pitchers gave up a runner, only to get a double play. It appeared to be a matter of which pitcher would crack first.
Those two runs would be all the Jason Vargas would need. After Jed Lowrie was erased on the double play in the second, Vargas went on cruise control, mixing his pitches and keeping the A’s off balance. Getting ahead in the count quickly and inducing weak popups and ground balls, Vargas set down the last 23 batters he faced, making the team with the best record in baseball appear to be nothing more than a minor inconvenience.
The Royals gave Vargas an insurance run in the fifth. Christian Colon led off the inning with a bunt single, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After Infante legged out an infield single on a slow roller to short to put runners at the corners, Salvador Perez hit a sacrifice fly to give the Royals a 3-0 lead.
That would prove to be the final margin of victory, as Jason Vargas picked up his first shutout in a Royals uniform. In his nine innings, Vargas allowed only three hits, striking out four in his economical 97 pitch outing.
Infante was 2-3 with a two run home run and a walk for the Royals in the win.