There was another bullpen implosion. However, the much-maligned Alex Gordon played hero on Wednesday evening. The left-fielder drove in two runs, including the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, to help the Kansas City Royals to a series win over Oakland.
“But his defense!” shouted all the Gordon … defenders.
Well, the move didn’t last long. It basically consisted of Gordon coming off the bench a couple of times against St. Louis to pinch-hit before eventually returning to the lineup.
Nothing has changed since.
Entering Wednesday’s series finale in Oakland, Gordon was still hitting below .200, hadn’t homered since July 3 and had driven in just one run in the month of August.
Two of those three things changed during Wednesday’s 7-6 victory over the Athletics.
Gordon finished the day 2 for 5 to boost his average to .200. He also drove in two runs—the latter of which forced home Alcides Escobar to break a 6-6 deadlock in the top of the ninth inning.
His heroics were needed to bail out the Kansas City Royals bullpen.
Less than 24 hours after a complete collapse in the eighth inning, the bullpen once again struggled to close out a game.
Even after regaining the lead, Kelvin Herrera made Kansas City Royals fans sweat out the ending.
Herrera finally slammed the door with a strikeout of Chad Pinder to give the Kansas City Royals a second straight series win. Almost more importantly, it helped put Tuesday’s disastrous ending out of mind.
Next up: a much-needed day off.
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After 20 games in 20 days, the Kansas City Royals will get a break before a crucial home-stand. (Although there was a day in there with no game. It was due to a rain-out that led to a doubleheader the next day. Thus it still required playing 20 in 20.)
The following weekend sees the Kansas City Royals travel to Cleveland. Sandwiched in between is another day off Monday and three games against Colorado at Kauffman Stadium.
If the Kansas City Royals have any chance at winning the Central Division, the next week and a half are going to be crucial.
At the very least, the team will know soon what its main objective should be.
Maybe that is trying to out-muscle Cleveland for a division title. Maybe it’s holding off a half-dozen teams for a Wild Card spot. Or maybe it’s just trying to finish with a winning record.