This year, the Royals have had games postponed, prolonged, or otherwise interrupted by the following:
- A terrorist manhunt
- A whole night of rain that pushed the ending of a game past 3 a.m.
- Rain (of course)
Tonight, they added a light outage, and that even came after a rain delay forced the game to start at 9:45 p.m.
So it’s been an odd season in many ways. Nonetheless, the game still gets played and the Royals pulled out a gutty 6-5 win thanks to a seventh inning Eric Hosmer homer to center and a couple of Greg Holland strikeouts.
The night almost ended up being much more grim. After the Royals scored in the bottom of the first, Jeremy Guthrie pitched pretty well but put two on after back to back singles in the top of the sixth. Then Jason Kipnis hit a high fly to left that kept carrying. Alex Gordon was tracking it, but it ended up behind him and as he adjusted, he fell back against the left field bullpen fence, striking his hip on the ground and slamming back against a padded post. He was down and not moving while Lorenzo Cain gathered the ball and got it into the infield, but Kipnis was already crossing home with a three-run inside the park homer.
Gordon limped off the field with the aid of trainers and the Royals said he has a possible concussion and a hip contusion (bruise). He’ll be reevaluated on Thursday, but he’s probably out for a few days, and, if there’s a concussion involved, he’ll end up on the DL.
The Royals carried on, though. After seeing their best player leave the game, Alcides Escobar and Hosmer hit singles. Escobar scored on a one out Salvador Perez single, then went to third on Cain’s RBI single. Miguel Tejada slapped a ball to right that scored Perez and sent Cain to third, then he went to second while Cain came home on an error by Nick Swisher at first on a pickoff attempt. The Royals took a 5-3 lead to the seventh.
Play was stopped for 12 minutes while the lights were brought back and, when the game resumed, Guthrie missed badly on the next two pitches and walked Raburn. He then walked Yan Gomes after starting 2-0. Michael Bourn singled and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a sac fly to drive in both runners and tie the game. Will Smith got out of it after David Lough ran down a fly ball in left to end the inning. Then, in the seventh, Hosmer took a fastball down the middle just to the left of center field. It’s his eighth homer of the year and his seventh in his last 18 games.
The Royals got the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth with no outs, but weren’t able to get any insurance runs across. Johnny Giavotella grounded into a fielder’s choice and a forceout at home, David Lough had a shot at a sacrifice fly, but Lorenzo Cain stumbled coming off third and couldn’t get a jump towards home. The ball was shallow so it may have been close, but Cain is fast enough to make it. Ned Yost said after the game he tried to leave too early and crossed himself up. Then, Jarrod Dyson grounded out to the pitcher to strand three.
Greg Holland came in and started Mark Reynolds off with three balls but fought back to strike him out. Raburn hit a grounder to Escobar but he didn’t field it cleanly and threw it past Hosmer at first. Holland, however, got Jason Giambi to fly out, then struck out Michael Bourn on a slider to end the game.
It was a tough win after the delay to start things, the Gordon injury, the lights. But they did it.
As for Gordon, he said after the game that he didn’t think he lost consciousness (but wasn’t sure) and told Bob Dutton that he didn’t intend to go on the disabled list (but it’s not his call, of course). Concussions are no joke. Ask Justin Morneau about them. He lost half of his 2010 season and almost two months in 2011 due to concussion symptoms and has been merely good rather than great since. He’s acknowledged that concussions could end his career if complications become chronic. Brian Roberts has also lost a lot of time to concussions and the resultant symptoms (among other injuries). If Gordon needs a week off (which is why the 7-day DL was established – for concussion evaluation and treatment), then take a week off. If he needs two weeks, take two. Long-term, he’ll be better off for it.
Back to the game. The final out was recorded shortly after 1 a.m. on July 4th. Independence Day. The winning pitcher?
Obviously not that one…