The KC Royals had lost their last two games when leading through seven innings, and had lost a game when they were leading after the eighth inning for the first time since May 5, 2014. That rock solid bullpen suddenly seemed vulnerable. Tonight, however, the Royals formula worked to perfection, as the bullpen slammed the door on the Royals 4-1 victory.
Things did not start off well for the boys in blue. Danny Duffy allowed a leadoff triple to Shane Victorino, and after a line drive to second, gave up an RBI double to Mike Trout as the Angels took a 1-0 lead. The Royals offense was unable to figure out the low 80’s fastball and variety of slower stuff from Angels starter Jered Weaver, who fluttered the ball past Kansas City through the first five innings, allowing just one hit while hitting two batters.
Los Angeles squandered a scoring opportunity in the second, as they loaded the bases with a two out single and consecutive hit batters. Duffy escaped the jam by getting Kole Calhoun to fly out to emerge unscathed. While Duffy settled down, Weaver appeared to be virtually unhittable.
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That ended in the sixth, as the KC Royals offense came to life. Ben Zobrist led off the inning with a double to deep right. Lorenzo Cain followed with a sharp ground ball to first that skipped between Albert Pujols‘ legs for an error, plating Zobrist to tie the game. An errant pickoff put Cain at second, and two pitches later, Eric Hosmer drilled a two run home run to right, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead.
Duffy departed after the sixth, having given up that one run on five hits. While he did not walk a batter and recorded two strikeouts, Duffy did hit three Angels batters as he fought his command early on. Now, the game was squarely in the hands of the Royals bullpen once again.
For a time, it appeared as though the Angels would get closer. Ryan Madson was in trouble all inning, eventually loading the bases with two out. However, he managed to escape without giving up a run by getting Pujols to ground to short to end the threat.
After the Royals tacked on an insurance run courtesy of Drew Butera‘s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth, it was time for Greg Holland. After his implosion last night, Holland slammed the door shut, working around a base hit to strikeout the side and preserve the KC Royals 4-1 victory.
Zobrist was 2-4 with a double and a run scored in the victory.