There was a good old-fashioned slugfest between the KC Royals (65-44) and Chicago White Sox (51-57) Saturday night in Kansas City. Fortunately, the hometown heroes prevailed 7-6 in champion-like fashion as 39,000 raucous fans in sold-out Kauffman Stadium showered them with adoration and positive energy.
The Royals ran up a 7-2 lead by the end of five, but allowed the Sox to battle back to within one run the very next inning before slamming the door on the rally and on Chicago’s hopes for a big comeback.
KC starter Jeremy Guthrie (8-7 / 5.84 ERA) was his usual generous self, surrendering six runs on ten hits (including two doubles and two homers) and a walk in 5.2 innings. While his counterpart, Jeff Samardzija, was equally inept, allowing Royals hitters to score seven runs on six hits (three for extra bases) and two walks.
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To say that Jeremy “pitches to contact” is a gross under-statement. He’s allowed opposing hitters to bat .319 on the season, while the major league average is .253. That’s not a misprint. But the Royals win when he pitches, and Rex Hudler and many others believe that the confidence Jeremy engenders in teammates actually contributes to victory – even though he gets shellacked virtually every time out of the box. Dubious contention.
On the other side of the ball, the Royals featured a balanced and effective offensive attack. Salvador Perez and Kendrys Morales were both 2-4 with two RBI apiece. Moose had an RBI and a run scored. Lorenzo Cain had an RBI, swiped his 20th bag, and scored. Alcides Escobar scored twice. Jarrod Dyson, filling in in left field, tripled and scored.
KC’s bullpen was rock-solid, as we’ve come to expect. Luke Hochevar, Ryan Madson, Kelvin Herrera, and Greg Holland — who nailed his 25th save of the season by striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth inning as the fans roared their approval — combined for 3.1 scoreless innings. Superb.
The Royals currently enjoy a 10.5 game lead in their division (or will when the Twins finish losing to Cleveland in a few minutes). Amazing. And fantastic.
Tune in Sunday at 1:10 PM as the Royals attempt to complete the series sweep.