Royals Report: Jarrod Dyson Grand Slam Saves Season
By John Viril
The Royals season was on life support on Monday night trailing the Cleveland Indians 2-0 in the opening game of their three game series. Jarrod Dyson‘s first career grand slam highlighted a seven-run, eighth inning rally that keyed a 7-3 victory.
The Kansas City Royals improved to 47-45, and pulled within seven games of AL Central leader Cleveland with KC’s 7-3 win. The Indians fell to 54-38 to reduce their AL Central lead to 5.5 games over the Tigers and 7.0 games over KC.
I know saying that Jarrod Dyson’s grand slam saved the season is a tad melodramatic, but could very well be true. The KC Royals desperately need to make a move on the Indians in the AL Central before the trading deadline, or management will refuse to find help on the high-priced pitching market.
Given that the Royals had just lost two of three games in Detroit despite solid starting pitching, and that they were poised to drop the opening game of their crucial series against Cleveland despite an outstanding outing from starter Edinson Volquez, such a loss could have caused even the defending World Champions to lose belief in themselves.
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Instead, this team did what it has done so many times in the past 2.5 seasons: pulled off a late-inning comeback with their backs to the wall.
The KC Royals opened the eighth inning down 2-0 after seven shutout innings from 2014 Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber on the mound for the Indians. Brian Shaw relieved Kluber to begin the eighth inning, with closer Cody Allen looming over the ninth inning.
Once again, the Royals pulled off some devil magic to rally for seven runs in the eighth inning of a critical game.
Alcides Escobar got the party started with an infield single, followed by a hit from Eric Hosmer to put runners at first and second with no outs. Christian Colon pinch hit for DH Kendry Morales and showed bunt early in the count. He then pulled the bat back to drive a ball deep into the left-center gap. Colon’s double drove in Escobar and Hosmer to tie the game at 2-2.
Colon, however, got thrown at third trying to stretch his drive into a triple.
Recall that Colon also provided key hits in two other critical situations in his career. He drove in the tying run in the 2014 Wild Card win and then stole second with two outs to put himself in scoring position for Salvador Perez‘s game-winning single. His single in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series drove in the lead run in KC’s victory to clinch the title.
Salvador Perez popped out to short, then Alex Gordon walked and stole second. Cuthbert walked, before Paulo Orlando singled in the lead run to put KC ahead 3-2. Merrifield walked to load the bases for Jarrod Dyson, who slammed a home run into the right field corner.
It was Dyson’s first career grand slam and hardly what anyone expected from the 160 pound speedster. Chris Young gave up a run in the ninth inning to make Dyson’s shot the winning margin. That blow was more than a win, it was a massive statement that the defending champions aren’t dead yet.
Next: KC Royals Return Home For Crucial Series Against Tribe
Do not doubt that Cleveland is feeling the heat right now.
While Monday’s victory was huge, the KC Royals still have a lot of work to do to pull themselves back into the race.