Perhaps the greatest strengths for the Kansas City Royals are their bullpen and defense. Both units failed the Oakland A’s as the Royals used a five run seventh inning to take a 7-3 victory.
It appeared as though another pitcher’s duel could be on tap, as the A’s Jeff Samardzija matched up against James Shields. That script certainly held true through the first two and a half innings. Kansas City got on the board in the bottom of the third, as Erik Kratz led off the inning with a base hit. Christian Colon followed with an infield single to second, which Alberto Callaspo threw away, allowing Kratz to reach third. A sacrifice fly Jarrod Dyson scored Kratz to give the Royals a 1-0 lead.
Oakland got the run back in the top of the fourth. Brandon Moss led off the inning with a base hit, and moved to third on a one out double to deep left by Josh Reddick. Callaspo atoned for his error in the previous inning as he hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game. The Royals matched the A’s in the bottom of the frame, as Alex Gordon led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a ground out, and scored on Mike Moustakas‘s base hit to right, giving the Royals a 2-1 lead.
Once again, the A’s fought back, as they rallied with two outs in the top of the sixth. After Shields got two quick outs, Stephen Vogt singled to left. Reddick followed with a triple to center, scoring Vogt and tying the game. Callaspo then followed with a base hit to right, plating Reddick and giving the A’s a 3-2 lead.
The Royals broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh. After one out, Kratz singled to center, and went to third on a double to deep center by Colon. That would be all for Samardzija, as Ryan Cook was brought in to escape the jam. Instead, he helped spark the Royals offense. Dyson singled to tie the game, and Nori Aoki followed with a triple to deep right, scoring two runs and giving the Royals a 5-3 lead. After Alcides Escobar walked, Cook was pulled in favor of Fernando Abad. Abad struck out Gordon, then was pulled for Luke Gregerson. Billy Butler greeted him with a base hit on the first pitch Gregerson threw, plating both runners and giving the Royals a 7-3 lead.
That score held up, as the Royals bullpen kept the A’s off the board over the final two innings. Aaron Crow earned the win in relief, as he struck out the only batter he faced in the top of the seventh before the five run explosion. James Shields had a solid outing, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk, striking out five in his six innings of work.
Christian Colon had an excellent day at the plate, going 3-4 with a double and a run scored to raise his batting line to .385/.385/.615 in his limited action.
Tags: Kansas City Royals