Moment #3: Walkoff leads to a home sweep of Cleveland Indians
By all accounts, it had already been a great weekend for the Kansas City Royals. On Friday they had stopped a ten-game losing streak and with a victory on Saturday they had already guaranteed a winning series against Cleveland who came to KC with an 8-4 record.
The Royals had cut their games behind first-place from six to four and a half in those two games and it seemed like they were getting their mojo back with 8-1 and 3-0 victories over the Indians. Taking on Corey Kluber would be a tough task and when Cleveland lit up Jakob Junis in the first inning to the tune of three runs it was going to be tough to battle back.
Battle back they did, though, as Lucas Duda and Whit Merrifield clubbed home runs in the second inning and then Duda and Chris Owings (yes those two!) walked in runs in the third and the Royals took a 6-3 lead. They also chased Kluber out of the game before he could go three full frames.
In the fourth, the Indians scratched out a couple of runs to close the gap to one run. Cam Gallagher would bunt home Hunter Dozier in the fifth and Soler would hit one of his season record bombs in the sixth to put the Royals on top 8-5.
Richard Lovelady and Jake Newberry could not hold the lead in the seventh and the score ended up knotted at eight going to the bottom of the ninth. O’Hearn leads off with a walk, Terrance Gore pinch runs and steals second plus advances on a throwing error. Dozier calmly slaps a single to left field and the Kansas City Royals have their first walk-off win of the season off of three-time All-Star closer Brad Hand.
Moment #2: Homer Bailey has his first dominant start of the year
Homer Bailey‘s salary in 2018 with the Cincinnati Reds was $21 million but the Kansas City Royals acquired him for a song and dance to see if he could provide value and possibly be a trade piece mid-season.
Bailey was a minor league invite to Spring Training and no guarantee to make the team. His performance in Arizona was enough to earn a spot on the big league club and he made his Royals debut on April 3rd. The first two starts did not go very well and he came into the April 13th meeting with Cleveland at 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA.
Tapping into the success he had in prior years, Bailey spun magic on this day retiring 14 of the first 15 batters he faced with five punchouts. After a walk and double consecutively in the top of the fifth, Baily sat down another seven in a row.
After 102 pitches, Ian Kennedy and Wily Peralta relieved Bailey and proceeded to retire the Indians down 1-2-3 in their respective innings. Homer’s final line was seven innings pitched, two hits surrendered, two walks allowed and six strikeouts.
It was his first win as a member of the Kansas City Royals and was the beginning of a nice first half of the season that allowed KC to flip him to Oakland for a minor league prospect.