The Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians played Saturday night in front of a nearly full house at Kauffman Stadium. It was retro night at the old ball park, and the players accommodated with a good old-fashioned pitcher’s duel. Greg Brady (aka Barry Williams) was on hand (no sign of cousin Oliver). And many of the players wore the throwback stirrups over their socks, with the pants legs bloused up near the knees – the way we used to do it back in the olden days when me and Moses (Garcia) played little league. Fun times.
The game got off to an inauspicious beginning when the Royals loaded the bases with nobody out in the home-half of the first inning, but Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer struck out Billy Butler and Sal Perez on breaking balls in the dirt, then made Raul Ibanez look like a forty-something year-old when he blew him away with a 96 MPH fastball to end the threat.
The Royals would put nine men on base in the first six innings – five via walk – but were unable to push even one run across; a harbinger of things to come.
Then in the eighth inning, Cleveland leading 1-0, reliever Scott Atchison walked Alex Gordon, then made a throwing error on what should have been a double-play ground ball off the bat of Billy Butler. An out and a walk later, the bases were loaded with one down for Lorenzo Cain, who plated the tying run by beating the relay throw on an ill-advised attempt to double him up on a ground ball.
The game remained tied at 1-1 into the bottom of the tenth. Once again KC loaded the bases with one down, but couldn’t deliver despite all the positive energy created by 35K cheering fans.
In the top of the eleventh, with the large crowd spewing negative vibes their way, Cleveland still managed to rally and take a 3-1 lead on a leadoff triple by SS Jose Ramirez off reliever Scott Downs (recently activated from the DL), followed by singles from Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana, sandwiched around a Sal Perez throwing error on a steal by Brantley.
The Royals would make it interesting with a rally in the bottom of the eleventh, but came up just short when Eric Kratz took strike three with the tying run at second base, sending the crowd home depressed, bitter, and overcome with sorrow.
The Royals had 19 base runners on the evening, and scored twice. Yikes
Looking for positives? James Shields started and went seven strong innings, giving up just one run on five hits and a walk, while striking out four. Omar Infante — back from injury — reached base three times, as did Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon. Sal Perez doubled twice. Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland continued their dominant ways in relief. And the Royals are still technically in first place, although now tied with the mighty Tigers of Detroit.
KC will try to salvage one game from the Cleveland series tomorrow night at 7:07 PM Central. I like our chances with Danny Duffy on the mound, going against some dude from the Indians.