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Melky’s late blast propels Royals to much-needed win

Streak finally snapped.

They tried to give it away, but the Kansas City Royals five-game losing streak was snapped thanks to timely home runs and a bullpen that was able to avoid becoming a complete sieve against the Quad-A White Sox.

The win got the Royals back to .500 and within a half-game of the second Wild Card spot—a spot they seem unlikely to ever be truly out of, given the logjam of teams within a couple of games within .500. The Royals, along with Minnesota, Los Angeles, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Texas, are within 2.5 games of the second Wild Card spot as of this writing.

Of course, only one of those teams went 3-7 over their last 10 games to tumble from grace. Give you a guess who.

The Royals bookended their scoring with home runs, starting with Eric Hosmer’s first-inning bomb which flew approximately forever.

Opposite field to boot—the direction 11 of his 19 homers this season.

An inning later, Alcides Escobar delivered a run-scoring triple and scored following a Whit Merrifield single, because of course Whit had a hand in victory. Very, very quietly, Escobar is up to .229 on the season. Maybe that’s nothing special (it is nothing special, I just wanted to leave room for ambiguity), but when you consider he was hitting .180 two months ago, Ned Yost will take it.

Three runs is never going to be enough for Ian Kennedy, and it wasn’t on this night either. He gave it all back on a pair of Jose Abreu home runs, in the fourth and sixth innings. He also was responsible for Tim Anderson, who walked with one out in the seventh, advanced to third when Omar Narvaez greeted Scott Alexander with a double then scored on Leury Garcia’s two-run single.

By the way, Alexander has now given up a run in six straight appearances, blew his season’s first save in a seventh and has been generally not as good as his 2.63 ERA would have you, John Q. Fan, believe.

But Alexander would snake his season’s third win thanks to some shut-down relief work from Joakim Soria and Kelvin Herrera and a big hit from new acquisition Melky Cabrera. Say what you want about Melky—he’s one of my least-favorite baseball players ever, so you know where I stand—but the man has held up his end of the bargain with the Royals.

Tonight, he swatted a two-run homer in the eighth to put the Royals ahead for good.

In 13 contests since his triumphant return to the organization, he’s hitting .314 with three homers and 13 RBI. Maybe Trevor Cahill, Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer have all sucked to varying degrees—and they have—but you can’t doubt that Melky’s in on this.

Did Mike Moustakas homer? Well, no, but he did end the game and lock down Herrera’s 25th save with this nice diving stop with a runner on second after Narvaez walked and pinch-runner Tyler Saladino stole second. If that grounder gets through, we may still be playing baseball tonight.

As it is, the Royals finally pulled out of a tailspin and get the chance to take a much-needed series win with Jason Vargas on the mound, Sunday. Derek Holland, who is bad, will oppose the Doctor in the series finale.

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