Kansas City Royals: Late Offensive Explosion Downs Tigers
The Kansas City Royals erupted for 11 runs in the final three innings to land a victory over Detroit on Wednesday. It earned the team a second straight series win. On tap is a huge four-game set with the Twins.
Entering Wednesday’s game, it had been a road trip of blowout losses and narrow wins for the Kansas City Royals. The team decided to finally flip the script on Wednesday. Thankfully, they chose a blowout win over a narrow loss.
Through six innings, Jason Hammel and Matt Boyd were locked in a pitcher’s duel. Then the Kansas City Royals reverted to their circa 2014-15 self en route to a 13-2 victory.
With the score tied at 2-2, the first five Royals batters reached in the seventh inning. Four of them doubled and Lorenzo Cain singled. By the time a hobbled Mike Moustakas—about the only bad thing to come out of the win—grounded into a double-play to end the frame, the Kansas City Royals were up 6-2.
Kansas City Royals
It still felt like a fairly narrow lead the way the team has been pitching lately. But the offense kept things going with a seven-run eighth inning to blow things open. Whit Merrifield and Eric Hosmer had two-run doubles in the frame. Salvador Perez capped the outburst with a home run—his second of the game—to bring in Hosmer.
For the third time on the road trip, several bench players found their way into the game. Unlike the first two—a 17-0 loss to Minnesota on Saturday and a 13-2 loss to Detroit on Tuesday—the Kansas City Royals offense was the reason.
It was also the first and only win of the road trip that wasn’t by just one run.
Due to the timing of the Royals offensive explosion, Hammel picked up his eighth win of the season. Even with his middle-inning issues, the former Chicago Cub has been arguably the team’s second best starter (behind Jake Junis) in the second half of the season.
He didn’t have his best stuff on Wednesday but battled to get through six innings. After being spotted a 2-0 lead, Hammel gave up single runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Things could have been much worse for Hammel, who gave up nine hits and two walks. An error on Moustakas helped the Tigers score their first run, but Hammel coaxed a groundout and one of his six strikeouts to strand two runners. He also stranded a pair each in the fifth and sixth frames.
The Kansas City Royals offense made sure Detroit would rue those missed chances.
Now the team will carry a significant amount of momentum into this weekend’s series. After winning two out of three apiece in Minnesota and Detroit, the Kansas City Royals are in position to put a lot of heat on the Twins this weekend.
At 69-69, the Royals are back at .500, which in 2017 has them in great position to challenge for the American League’s second Wild Card spot. The Twins will carry a 2.5-game lead into their four-game set with the Kansas City Royals.
The Angels (0.5 games behind the Twins), the Orioles (1 GB) and the Rangers (2 GB) sit between the Central Division rivals. Tampa Bay and Seattle (at the time of this writing) both sit three games back of Minnesota.
It’s hard to overstate how rare Wednesday’s performance was for this version of the Kansas City Royals. The 13 runs are the most the team has scored since putting up 14 against the White Sox on Aug. 13. On the other side, the two runs are the fewest the team has given up since a 6-2 win over the Rays on Aug. 29.
The Kansas City Royals and their fans can only hope it’s a sign of how this make-or-break weekend will play out.
Next: Royals Continue Postseason Pursuit
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