Four American League teams entered Friday with 10 wins in this young season. Two of them faced off at Kauffman Stadium as Baltimore came to town to face the Royals. The boys in blue (and gold) got things off to a good start in the series with a 4-2 win.
I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in!
The Royals jumped on Orioles starter Yovani Gallardo for three quick runs in the first inning. And I mean quick. Alcides Escobar reached on an infield single on the first pitch he saw. Mike Moustakas continued his scorching start to 2016 by blasting Gallardo’s second pitch 436 feet to straightaway center field. Seriously, look at the location of this changeup:
That was an 84 mph pitch, by the way. Next time, just put it on a tee for him.
Moustakas’ sixth homer of the season was the WPA play of the game, taking KC’s chances from 58.3% to 73.7%.
Lorenzo Cain followed that with a single on the third pitch of the inning. Ambush hitting at its finest. Cain took second on a groundout and scored on a Kendrys Morales double.
The Royals then added a run in the second inning. With two outs and no one on, Escobar showed some nice patience and worked a walk. Moustakas struck again with a double, good for a 4-0 lead.
No one gives it to you. You have to take it.
Royals starter Chris Young had scuffled in his first few starts of the season. But tonight, perhaps relaxed by the early lead, Young was at his best. The tall righty held a potent Orioles offense to four hits and a walk in six innings, while striking out 10. Yep, 10. He hadn’t had that many in one game since 2008. Baltimore’s runs came in the fourth (a two-out Mark Trumbo double and a J.J. Hardy single) and in the sixth (a Manny Machado home run). This start should quiet some of the concern about Young.
Where does he get those wonderful toys?
Another night, another sterling effort from the Royals’ bullpen. Luke Hochevar, Kelvin Herrera, and Wade Davis each pitched one scoreless inning to slam the door. Hochevar, perhaps unused to working without runners, allowed the only hit of the trio. That was a leadoff single by Hardy, bringing the tying run to the plate. But two flyouts sandwiched around a strikeout meant Hardy never made it to second. Herrera and Davis worked efficient 1-2-3 innings; Herrera threw 14 pitches and Davis only needed nine. That could be helpful if they’re needed tomorrow night.
I want you to hold it between your knees
The lone downside to this game from the Royals’ perspective is probably that, although Baltimore pulled Gallardo from the game after just two innings, the Orioles’ bullpen is still in good shape. That’s because reliever T.J. McFarland pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. He really kept Baltimore in the game, although Young and the bullpen brigade made sure that the outcome was never seriously in doubt.
Which one of you nuts has got any guts?
The same two teams face off tomorrow night at Kauffman. The Royals will try to win the series behind Kris Medlen, while Baltimore will counter with good ol’ TBD. Their planned starter for tomorrow night, Vance Worley, pitched the ninth inning of this game. At least McFarland won’t be pitching again.