Royals grab win in game 1

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Heart.

 

Say what you want about experience, skill, and luck, but game one of the double header was a Royals game won by heart.

 

There’s a saying in baseball, “You win 60 games, you lose 60 games, you’re really fighting for the other 42.” Today was one of those 42.

 

I’ll be the first to admit, as I was heading to the K today listening to the pregame show on 610, I thought “We’re conceding the day game to get rest and try to take the night cap.” Not an ideal strategy, I thought, but I’m willing to accept a split on the day.

 

With a lineup that featured a struggling at best Alex Rios in the five hole, near All-Star starting 2nd baseman (in votes, not production) Omar Infante, recently recalled Paulo Orlando in his first game back from Omaha, the MLB debut of Cheslor Cuthbert, and a fill in game for catcher Drew Butera, I headed to the ball park figuring it was going to take an absolute gem from Chris Young to keep us in the game. I’m talking a six inning shutout performance just to give us a shot.

 

However, we started off with a bang…followed shortly by a flop. A bases loaded, no out, start for the Royals in the bottom half of the first, which ended with a grand total of ZERO runs, a cardinal sin in baseball.

 

On the heels of losing that momentum, Young followed that up by giving up a homerun on his first pitch of the second inning. Momentum; an ever changing phenomena.

 

However, the Royals would answer immediately with a three run second inning of their own, with the help of a two run single by Kendrys Morales. Just like that, we were off to the races.

 

The game went back and forth, and we sat in the bottom of the 7th inning tied up at four runs apiece. Needing a big run in order to get the ball into the hands of the deadly Davis/Holland combination, KC had to look no further than to Mr. Royal, Alex Gordon to get the rally started. A single from Gordon, a walk by Morales, a mind boggling bunt attempt (fielder’s choice) by Hosmer, and a less than stellar AB from Rios left Morales on 3rd base with two outs. Infante laced a single into center field, and the Royals had their lead, the game was over!

 

Or so we thought. Wade Davis had a below average appearance…which for him simply means the opposing team managed to get a runner into scoring position. No damage done, and we were off to the 9th, but not before witnessing the rare bunt double by Escobar.

 

In a questionable play, Kevin Kiermaier drove Dirty South’s first offering down the right field line for a triple…even though he was out at third. A wild pitch allowed the tying run to score, but damage control got KC to the bottom of the 9th tied up, with a chance for the 3rd walkoff win in their past four games.

 

This is where heart takes over. The best closer in the American League blows a save. You’ve got a less than stellar lineup playing. Eric Hosmer is at the plate with one out, in the midst of one of the worst games he’s played this season (0 for 4 to that point, with a couple big opportunities, also had a ball go through his glove on a pickoff attempt allowing a runner to advance). Battling off a tough pitch, Hos managed to drive it up the middle for a single and the Royals were in business.

 

A single by the struggling Rios, a walk for Infante, and we find the rookie Paulo Orlando at the plate with a change to do something special. A sac fly was all we needed, and from the second the ball made contact with the bat, everyone in the stands knew we had at least that, if not more.

 

As the ball kept carrying, Royals fans knew they had witnessed a true testament to what the Royals are; a TEAM. The ball cleared the left field fence, falling harmlessly into the Kansas City bullpen, giving the Royals the first walkoff grand slam since Justin Maxwell in September of 2013. The kid, who’s not really a kid anymore, had done it.

 

The heart of this team is special. Every game is a fun game to watch. This team gets it. The Royals are playing ball, and they are doing something really special. With a win in the second game of the double header as well, the Royals moved to 15 games over 500, and hold a 4.5 game lead in the AL Central. Hold on fans. We’re in for another fun ride.

 

Player of the Game: Easily has to be Paulo Orlando. The game winning walk-off grand slam is something that Royals fans will remember for a long time to come! Also made a GREAT catch in center field to take away an extra base hit.

 

Honorable Mention:

Cheslor Cuthbert: The rookie making his major league debut, recorded his first career hit in the 3rd inning on a single. Way to go kid!

Alex Gordon: 3 for 4 on the day, 2 RBI, and a solo shot homerun.

 

Next Game: KC vs. Tampa Bay, 7/8/2015, 7:10 pm. Jeremy Guthrie vs. Chris Archer.

 

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Author: Ryan Schlesener

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