There’s nothing especially interesting, or noteworthy, or even fun about Dillon Gee starts. The guy is a grinder, though, and that’s enough.
Gee set the first eight Yankees down in order to open the game. It was a showcase of efficiency as he required just 30 pitches to record those outs. He started only two of the eight with strikes, but his fastball showed some life at 90 mph and the Yankees were hungry enough they were swinging early and putting the ball in play.
Gee’s luck ran out for a bit in the fourth. After recording two outs to open the frame, he allowed back to back doubles to plate the first Yankee run. He scuffled a bit again with two outs in the fifth, missing his location as it appeared he was opening up too early. A single and a walk had the Royals starter in hot water until he was able to retire Aaron Hicks on a shallow pop to center to end the inning.
With the heart of the order coming through for the third time, Ned Yost seemed to tempt fate by sending Gee back out for the sixth. You know how this ends. When Yost and Fate have a staring contest, Fate blinks. Gee retired the side in order and handed the game over to the bullpen with a two run lead.
In The Beginning, A Barely There Offense
The Royals jumped all over Yankee starter Michael Pineda in the first. Jarrod Dyson started the festivities with a slow roller to second he was able to leg out for a hit. That’s what speed do, and all that. He advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a Lorenzo Cain single. Cain swiped second and scored on a Kendrys Morales single. Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon followed with singles of their own to bring home Morales. Typical Royals. Put the pressure on the bases and string together a few hits.
And then… silence.
After Gordon was thrown out trying to steal second base, the Royals decided they had scored enough. Starting in the second inning, Pineda retired the next 15. Is it me, or does this seem to happen a couple times a week?
The Royals finally got to Pineda in the seventh, chasing him after back to back singles from Morales and Perez to open up the inning.
Then, An Escobar Powerup
The Royals are powering through August. And so is Alcides Escobar. In his last 26 games prior to Monday, the Royals shortstop was crushing the baseball to the tune of .309/.356/.454 with six doubles, a triple, and a pair of home runs. Just another August night as Esky crushes a three-run home run in the seventh to give the Royals some extra cushion. They’d need it.
The Royals sent ten to the plate in that seventh, tacking on another run when Cheslor Cuthbert singled home Raul Mondesi and a final tally when Hosmer was sawed off to single home Cuthbert. Noticed anything? So many names have been mentioned as contributing. Despite the middle inning offensive walkabout, this was a total team effort. Punctuated by the Escobar three-run blast. Just like the Royals drew it up back in spring training.
One final note about the Escobar home run. As noted above, he’s now hit three in the month of August. That’s the same number he hit in the entire 2014 season and all of 2015. This has been a helluva month for the Royals shortstop.
About That Cushion
The Royals bullpen of death is long in the past. Tasked with bringing home a seven-run margin of victory, Chris Young couldn’t get the job done. He yielded to Peter Moylan, who got outs, but also allowed his inherited runners to score. That meant that with six outs to go with a seven run lead, Ned Yost ultimately felt the need to call on his closer, Kelvin Herrera. That’s not what’s supposed to happen.
Herrera utilized 18 pitches to get his four outs – though that fourth one was delayed by a couple of singles – and save a crucial victory for the Royals. The Royals have won 18 of their last 22. Game on.
During the game, the Royals announced they acquired Daniel Nava from the Angels for a player to be named later or cash. Nava is hitting .235/.309/.303 in 136 plate appearances this year. He lost his job in Anaheim and spent the last month or so in Triple-A. He’s scheduled to report to Omaha, whose season ends this week. Nava cleared waivers when he was sent down earlier this summer, so he’s not on the 40-man roster.
The series continues tomorrow at 7:15. Edinson Volquez takes the ball for the Royals with Masahiro Tanaka his counterpart with the Yankees. Don’t forget to read the preview.