Royals Eibner, Merrifield Lead Comeback In 7-5 Win
Whit Merrifield, Cheslor Cuthbert, and Brett Eibner combined to go 5-12 with a double, two RBIs, and two runs scored in the Royals Friday night comeback win.
The Royals have been dealt a series of blows this past week.
First, they learned that Alex Gordon had fractured his wrist. Then Mike Moustakas‘ knee contusion turned out to be a torn ACL.
Despite this, they entered Friday night’s game against the White Sox just two games back in the Central.
However, the talk of the day was how the Royals depth would be able to hold it all together.
Friday night’s starting lineup included just four starters from their opening day lineup, and included three starters that were not even on the 25-man roster on opening day.
Early on, it looked like the new-look lineup was in for a struggle, scoring just one run through five innings against a mediocre pitcher in Miguel Gonzalez.
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Opposite of Gonzalez was Danny Duffy, who one-upped Gonzalez’s solid first five innings, with 5.2 perfect innings of his own.
Nearing his pitch limit, Ned decided to stick with Duffy after he surrendered his first hit with one out in the sixth.
The decision backfired when Duffy gave up two more singles, before giving up a grand slam to Melky Cabrera. Eight pitches later, Todd Frazier took Duffy deep, chasing the left-hander after giving up five runs in 5.1 IP. He also struck out five White Sox.
The Royals chipped away in the bottom of the sixth, with a home run of their own from Eric Hosmer, before the flood gates opened in the seventh.
Brett Eibner started things off with a one-out double to left, his first career hit.
Dan Jennings (LOOGY) then replaced Gonzalez to face Jarrod Dyson, proceeding to walk him.
Robin Ventura then went to his bullpen again, this time giving the ball to Matt Albers, who gave up a single to Alcides Escobar to load the bases.
Whit Merrifield followed with a single to left field to bring the Royals to within a run.
After Escobar and Merrifield moved up to second and third on a wild pitch, a play that had to be reviewed, Albers struck out Lorenzo Cain looking for the second out.
Ventura again went to his bullpen, going with another LOOGY in Zach Duke to face Eric Hosmer, who dropped a single into left-field to put the Royals up 6-5.
The play looked eerily familiar.
After Kelvin Herrera struck out the side in the 8th inning, the Royals added another run when Paulo Orlando and Cheslor Cuthbert singled, advanced on an Eibner sac bunt, before Orlando scored on a Dyson sac fly.
Wade Davis then struck out two in the ninth to finish the comeback and bring the Royals to within a game of the White Sox.
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Hosmer obviously had a big game, going 3-4 with a homer, the go-ahead single, and four RBI, but the role players who have warrented so much conversation this past week stole the show.
Eibner had his first career hit and started the Royals five-run sixth, while Merrifield drove in the first two runs of his career to bring the Royals within one.
Cuthbert added two hits for good measure.
The Royals are back in action tomorrow afternooon at 1:15 P.M. CT.
Yordano Ventura (4-3, 4.81 ERA) is on the hill for the Royals and will be opposed by Carlos Rodon (2-4, 4.47 ERA).