The KC Royals, a team on the brink of last place in the American League Central, beat Minnesota 5-3 Sunday afternoon. The victory capped Kansas City’s next-to-last road trip of the season, a journey that provided at least three good things to contemplate as the Royals take Monday off before facing the A’s and Mariners at home this week.
The KC Royals demonstrated they can be a resilient major league ballclub.
Kansas City embarked on this seven-game road trip after losing five of seven, including four straight to Cleveland, in a seven-tilt homestand with the Indians and White Sox. And the cure that should have been a trip-opening four games with Baltimore turned out to be a disappointing split.
More potentially damaging than those games, though, was Wednesday’s loss to the Orioles, a defeat solely attributable the club’s worst inning in recent memory. The Royals had few, if any, worries when they carried a seemingly comfortable 5-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
But Baltimore, then and still fiercely competing with Arizona to determine who the worst team in the major leagues will be at season’s end, shockingly bludgeoned Kansas City for nine runs to take a 9-5 lead, then held off Kansas City in the ninth to win 9-8.
It was the kind of eviscerating defeat capable of ruining a team for days. But the Royals, behind Nicky Lopez’s three-hit, two-RBI game and starter Carlos Hernandez’s six shutout innings, beat the O’s 6-0 the next day. The club moved on to Minnesota and took two of three from the Twins and left the Twin Cities winners three of their last four and two games ahead of last-place Minnesota.
That humiliating Wednesday loss could have flattened Kansas City, but the club bounced back convincingly to finish the road trip 4-3.
What other good can we take from this trip?