KC Royals Defeat Oakland A’s 3-2
By Tom Barkwell
Jun 27, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Chris Young (32) throws against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of their MLB baseball game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
The Royals (43-28) sit atop the American League, a season-best fifteen games above .500, after beating Kansas City’s former hometown team the Athletics (34-43) 3-2 in Oakland Saturday afternoon.
The action started in the bottom of the first when A’s CF Sam Fuld doubled, then broke for third as Royals starter Chris Young (7-3 / 2.71 ERA) lost track of him with the shift on, which forced Young into a difficult throw to a moving Mike Moustakas at third base. The poor throw got past Moose, and resulted in the games first run – a cheap one that the poor sportsmen A’s blatantly refused to give back.
The Royals tied the game in the third when 2B Omar Infante doubled, then advanced to third on a Scott Kazmir balk. Moose drove him in with a sac-fly to left.
The Royals uncharacteristically gave away another run and the lead in the fifth when SS Alcides Escobar overthrew first base on a routine grounder that should have been the third out. Instead, the error allowed the A’s to score another gift run, off the bat of team-nemesis Brett Lawrie no less.
Redemption would come quickly for KC, however, as they rallied to take the lead in the top of the sixth when DH Kendrys Morales drove in CF Lorenzo Cain and dreamy 1B Eric Hosmer, who’d brazenly run their way into scoring position on a nifty double steal play.
Nobody got nervous or reached for the Xanax when Royals reliever extraordinaire Wade Davis (0.28 ERA – not a misprint, you do not need to adjust your screen) walked the first two batters he faced in the eighth. For most teams this inevitably results in disaster, but is no real cause for concern here in KC. Davis and Greg Holland — who closed the save with a dominating ninth — have an uncanny ability to push through the pressure and shut their opponents down in the clutch. They love nothing more than smashing all the hopes and dreams of their opponents and their fans, by giving a faint glimmer of hope before slamming the door in their faces. And opposing batters know they have little real chance of scoring any runs. Could anything taste sweeter than that?
Chris Young continued his excellent record of starts this season, giving up only one earned run on four hits and a walk in six innings. The bullpen continued its own unparalleled brand of excellence. And another successful Dayton Moore off-season addition Kendrys Morales delivered big while former Royal favorite Billy Butler sits on the A’s bench, mired in a poor season after signing a big fat contract.
Consider this: The Royals haven’t gotten anywhere near the expected performances from key starters Danny Duffy or Yordano Ventura, yet here they sit atop the league. 2015 has been a heckuva lot of fun so far, and a testament to Moore’s good judgment (should be GM of the year) and the team’s high degree of talent and skill. And if Duffy and Ventura — not to mention the once-stellar Kris Medlen, who is nearing completion of injury rehab — can come back and have second halves closer to their actual abilities? Could be epic.
KC can achieve a series sweep with a victory on Sunday.