Find A Way: Royals Break Out in 8th to Steal Game Two From Pirates

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In Tuesday’s second game of the interleague series with the Pittsburgh Pirates, fans saw the return of Jason Vargas from his second stint on the disabled list. That return would be short-lived, however. In the 2nd inning, after giving up a leadoff double off the top of the wall then getting a strikeout, Vargas pulled up after a pitch looking at his left arm. He tried one more pitch, but the pain did not subside and he was forced to leave the game. This is particularly concerning not only because of his recent injury history, but also the fact that the pain seemed to be coming from near the dreaded Tommy John ligament is located. He will get an MRI in the morning, so until then, Royals nation will be holding its’ collective breath. After that, Joe Blanton got out of the 2nd inning mini-jam and the game went along.

                Both offenses were held in check for most of the night, which is the complete opposite of what happened in the first game of the series. This was due in large part to the Pirates’ starter, 24 year old righty Gerrit Cole. He came into the game with a dazzling 13-3 record, but the Royals did not care about his ‘ace’ status in this one. One of the many great things about this team is that it doesn’t matter who is on the hill for the other side, they will grind out at-bats and make it tough to beat them. Cole held KC in check until the 8th inning, when the Royals got a little help from a Neil Walker error that allowed Omar Infante to reach base. Alex Rios followed with a single, and both runners advanced on the throw. This set the table for Jarrod Dyson, who laced a single to right field to put the Royals ahead 2-0 and chase Cole from the game. Escobar would single Dyson home for some much needed insurance, and that was all they would need.

                For as good as Gerrit Cole was for most of the evening, the Royals’ bullpen was even better. Forced into action early in the contest, Joe Blanton threw 3.2 innings of 2-hit ball with 5 strikeouts. Ryan Madson followed that with a clean 6th inning, and then the cyborgs took over. Kelvin Herrera made quick work of the 7th, and Wade Davis was well…Wade Davis. And finally, after getting a 3-0 cushion, on came Greg Holland. This is where things got interesting. After a leadoff single by Starling Marte, Jung Ho Kang ripped a double over Cain’s head in center. He got the ball to Escobar quickly with Marte trying to score, and Esky gunned him down at the plate for the first out. Holland struck out Pedro Alvarez for the 2nd out, but then gave up 2 singles and a walk to load the bases with a 3-1 lead. Holland must have a flare for the dramatic, because he fanned Gregory Polanco to end the game and seal his 21st save on the year for the Royals.

                This game was not as high scoring as Monday’s, but it did not lack excitement. In the end, Wade Davis took the win (6-1, 0.44 ERA) and Gerrit Cole was saddled with the loss (13-4, 2.31 ERA.) Now the Royals will try and win the series before facing St. Louis on Thursday and Houston over the weekend. It will be Edinson Volquez vs. Charlie Morton on Wednesday as the 56-36 Royals look to come out victorious in the rubber game over the Pirates.

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Author: Jake Becker

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