There was a contest of baseball skill — the second in a three game series — Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park in Detroit, between the hometown Tigers and the Royals of Kansas City. And if you like action entertainment that ends in joyous celebration and righteous glory – it was a dandy.
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The KC men came out of the gate smokin’ (don’t use tobacco kids). Shortstop Alcides Escobar hit the first pitch of the game out of the park, and the Royals scored six runs before Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez could manage to complete four innings, quickly erasing any lingering stink from the previous night’s disastrous ending.
Sanchez ( 2-4 / 5.44 ERA), an accomplished big league pitcher with a long history of dominating KC Royals hitters, continued what amounts to a poor start on his 2015 season. He did settle down over the fifth and sixth innnings, but by then the damage was done. The Royals feasted to the tune of thirteen hits and three walks in the game, including doubles by Eric Hosmer, Jarrod Dyson, and Kendrys Morales, and a triple by Omar Infante. Every Royals hitter contributed, including newly acquired catcher Drew Butera with an RBI on a weak ground ball.
Meanwhile, Royals starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (2-2 / 5.70 ERA) performed very well, righting (for the moment) his previously leaky ship by giving up just two runs on eight hits and a walk with three K’s over 7.1 innings. He then relaxed and watched as bullpen stalwarts Luke Hochevar and Greg Holland finished off the Tigers over the final two frames of scoreless baseball.
At 36, Guthrie’s clearly in the twilight of a long career. A big-leaguer since 2004, he’s performing to a level nowhere near the cost of his fat contract ($9M this season with a $3.2M so-long bonus when he’s released this fall). But he was a hero today, and we raise a glass to his victory, and celebrate his good fortune. He is widely known to be a fine gent and solid citizen, in addition to being a world-class negotiator ($40M+ in his career). Well done, Jeremy, on all accounts.
The final and deciding game of the series will take place tomorrow night at 7:05 PM (Central) on national TV, with cagey veteran Chris Young (2-0 / 1.06 ERA) slated to start for the Royals vs. relative greenhorn and aptly-named Shane Greene (3-2 / 5.56 ERA) for the Tigers. Be sure to tune in, or you’re missing the best show in town.