The Kansas City Royals were playing awful. J.A. Happ looked like Sandy Koufax. And this recap looked a lot different 25 minutes ago.
For eight and a half innings, the Kansas City Royals played like crap, wasted a fine Jake Junis outing and generally looked disinterested in the proceedings at Kauffman Stadium in Friday night’s series opener against Toronto.
And then the bottom of the ninth inning happened, and everyone was reminded why it’s so hard to quit this stupid team and give yourself over to a rebuild.
With timely hitting—from the bottom of the order, it should be noted—the Royals erased a three-run deficit and got back to .500 with a 5-4 walk-off victory against the Blue Jays.
Junis was fantastic. I think we should get that out of the way first. He’s still finding his way a bit. He hasn’t really figured out his out pitch. He doesn’t have much extra he can reach back for. Dwight Smith Jr. got him for two hits, and Dwight Smith Jr. was in Buffalo in the not-too-distant past.
But outside of a fourth-inning hiccup—in the form of a run-scoring Troy Tulowitzki double and a run-scoring wild pitch—Junis was good enough to earn a win. He scattered six hits, two earned and struck out four in 6.1 innings—his second quality start in three outings.
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And it didn’t look like it would matter for large swaths of the game. This was a lifeless showing for the most part. The Kansas City Royals really couldn’t string anything together and the bottom of the order, as has been its wont, refused to get its collective [swear word that’s an analogy for poop] together.
Until the perfect time. But I don’t want to spoil the moment.
In the seventh, Lorenzo Cain doubled and Eric Hosmer reached on an error, with Salvador Perez driving in Cain on a single. This all happened within the inning’s first 10 pitches. In a one-run game, this was a prime moment for the Kansas City Royals to break this game wide open.
But a funny thing happened on the way to a loss: it didn’t happen.
Perez laced a one-out double but Moustakas popped to short. Two down, bottom three in the order coming up… call it a day, right?
Moss, for all his innumerable faults, had what may have been his finest moment as a Royal, fouling off multiple pitches before coaxing a walk. Which set up the following remarkable sequence:
- Escobar single (Perez scores)
- Pitching change
- Alex Gordon single (Moss scores)
- Pitching change
- Whitley David Merrifield double. Esky scores. Gordo scores. Pandemonium in Kauffman.
Yeah, girl. Bonus points because Schwarber got sent down today. I’m nothing if not topical.
Perez and Merrifield had two-hit games. Joakim Soria got the win, despite being bad. And the Kansas City Royals are… [drumroll please]… back to .500 on the season!