KC Royals Rout LA Angels of Anaheim CA; 9-4
By Tom Barkwell
Game three of a four-game series between the Kansas City Royals (70-46) and LA Angels (60-56) was won handily by the hometown Royals on Saturday night at beautiful Kauffman Stadium.
This one was pretty much over soon after it began. Salvador Perez (17 HR) launched Matt Shoemaker‘s first pitch of the second inning into the left-field fountains, and the evening quickly went downhill from there for LA’s shell-shocked starting pitcher. By the time the Royals batted around and celebrated wildly when Perez hit a run-scoring double later that same inning, the KC Royals led 6-1 and Shoemaker was headed for a very early shower.
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In addition to Sal’s towering solo shot, KC’s six-run second inning onslaught was highlighted by a sizzling double off the bat of Paulo Orlando, a two-run smash single by Jarrod Dyson, who would steal second and score on a nice single by Eric Hosmer, walks by Ben Zobrist and Alex Rios, a single by Kendrys Morales, and an RBI fielder’s choice ground ball from Mike Moustakas.
The Royals made it 7-1 in the third when Dyson — filling in for center-fielder Lorenzo Cain, who had the night off — doubled, stole third, and scored on a single from Zobrist, who played second base as the struggling Omar Infante got a much-needed rest (he needs a lot more rest if you ask me).
Royals hitters pounded 14 hits and coaxed five walks from five Angels pitchers on the night.
Meanwhile, new staff Ace Johnny Cueto (1.80 ERA) was dealing, in complete control of the game when the Royals were in the field. The great Albert Pujols — a former Fort Osage High School Indian — took him deep with a solo shot to begin the second inning, but the unique pitcher with the commanding presence clamped down afterwards and would allow no more run-scoring celebrations in the visitor’s dugout – not on Johnny’s watch, mister! He gave up a measly eight hits, no walks, one hit batsman, and one lonely run to the fading Anaheimians over eight solid innings.
Reliever Luke Hochevar gave up three runs in the ninth: a harmless rally aided by a dropped flyball that should have been an easy catch by Jarrod Dyson (who in fairness was 3-4 at the plate on the evening).
It’s worth repeating that this Royals ball club does a better job of shaking off the stench of a crushing defeat (or two crushing defeats if you consider recent events) better than any team in recent memory; a crucial component for a group that hopes to make good on championship aspirations. They seem to actually believe the old cliché that you go to the park each day focused only on that day’s event, forgetting the previous night altogether – good or bad. The result is that long losing streaks rarely materialize, as evidenced by the team’s excellent record on the year – best in the league.
Other than Ned Yost’s inexplicable insistence that Alcides Escobar lead off every day, I have few concerns or complaints. We’re likely to see a bit more Dyson/Orlando as summer fades, and hopefully a little less Rios and Infante (Zobrist walked three times tonight and has a .371 on-base-percentage – 140 points higher than Omar’s!). But this team has ample talent to win against any competition no matter who they run out on any given night.
While Esky (8-42 with one walk in his last ten games ) continues to make outs at an alarming rate, Moose doubled twice and showed signs he might be ready to break out of his long slump, which bodes well for the future.
The final game of the season between these two teams takes place Sunday night at 7:08 PM. You can watch it on ESPN or listen on KCSP 610 AM radio.