One hundred years ago today, the Chicago Whales took on the Kansas City Packers. In what was a very short-lived Federal League, those two teams met at what is now Wrigley Field. The Whales won that game by a score of 2-1 in 11 innings.
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This afternoon, sporting some great-looking throwback jerseys in honor of the Federal League, the Kansas City Royals/Packers fell to the Chicago Cubs/Whales in 11 innings … by a score of 2-1. If that doesn’t make you pause and ask a few questions about the mysteries of the universe (and the beauty of baseball), then I contend you aren’t pausing enough.
For the third straight game, Alcides Escobar came out swinging at the first pitch. He got good wood on it but lined out to right center. Omar Infante followed with a pop-out and Lorenzo Cain struck out.
Ventura needed just three pitches to record his first (of six) strikeouts against Chicago’s lead off man, Dexter Fowler. It foreshadowed a great outing, and a high-quality start from KC’s Ace. Kris Bryant then singled to left. Kendrys Morales, who got his first start of the year as a position player, at first base, got into the action when the next batter – Anthony Rizzo – grounded into a force out. Morales hurled a shaky throw to Esky at second, which the shortstop managed to hang onto. KC got out of the inning when Starlin Castro grounded into a force out.
The game remained a pitcher’s duel all afternoon, with Kansas City scoring first in their half of the 6th inning. With two outs, Cain and Morales both walked. Alex Gordon came up and drove a liner to left, recording his 500th career RBI when Cain scored from second base, putting the Royals/Packers up 1-0. Salvador Perez came to the plate but couldn’t get a two-out rally going, striking out with two runners on.
Ventura gave up his first walk in the bottom of the 7th inning, with one out, to Miguel Montero. A wild pitch moved Montero into scoring position. Chris Coghlan then plated Montero, but was thrown out at second, trying to stretch a long single into a double.
The game was tied into the bottom of the 11th inning. With Cubs manager Joe Maddon running out of pitchers – and the Royals bullpen being as staunch and stingy as its been – the Royals seemed to be in better shape for an extra-inning game.
But with Ryan Madson on the mound, the Cubs worked a couple of walks before Jason Frasor took over. Anthony Rizzo plugged a line-drive to short left field, which Gordon bobbled slightly before throwing to Perez at home. Dexter Fowler, running from second, slid in for the winning run, but his hand stuck in the dirt, and on a play that was officially challenged by the Cubs, was called out on Perez’s tag.
Cubs center fielderDexter Fowler
is tagged out by Salvador Perez during the eleventh inning at Wrigley Field. Chicago won 2-1 in 11 innings. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
With Cubs runners at second and third and just one out, the Royals intentionally walked Castro, loading the bases for David Ross. On the second pitch from Frasor, Ross blooped one just past a running-sliding Escobar, scoring Bryant for the winning run.
Because of Saturday’s rain-out, the Royals split the series (for now) with the Cubs and come limping home from a 1-4 road trip. Royals nation hopes more recent history will repeat itself. It was this time last year that the Royals went on a winning streak that foreshadowed what would be a magical season. Between June 1 and June 18 last year, the Royals only lost three games. We all would do well to keep in mind what a long season baseball is.
And as for today’s throwback game, let’s remember how difficult it is to rewrite history. The past is past.
Now, bring on the Cleveland Indians …