The Cam Slam was the difference for the Kansas City Royals in Monday’s series opener in Oakland, as Cam Gallagher’s first career homer put some distance between the Good Guys and the home team in a 6-2 Royals win.
The win puts the Royals within a half game of the streaking Angels, winners of six straight, and tied with the Twins, who have won eight of their last 10. The Angels play NL East leaders Washington this week, while the Twins host Cleveland, last seen threatening to run away with the AL Central.
The Royals have a chance to put a sizable dent in their deficit, is what I’m saying.
They got off to a good start Monday night, pushing an early run across against Jharel Cotton—the same Jharel Cotton who tossed seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball against the Royals back in April. Whit Merrifield singled to lead the game off (of course he did), stole second (OF COURSE HE DID), advanced to third on Lorenzo Cain’s groundout (OF COURSE HE DID!) and then scored when Eric Hosmer singled to center.
Gallagher was involved in the Royals second score of the night, albeit indirectly. He was at the plate when Cotton uncorked a wild pitch in the second, allowing Alcides Escobar to score and putting the Royals back up a run after Ryon Healy’s groundout brought in Marcus Semien after the latter’s one-out triple.
Cotton floated along largely unbothered for the next three innings but ran into a steady stream of trouble in the sixth. He opened the inning by issuing a four-pitch walk to Melky Cabrera, gave up a single to Mike Moustakas and a high hopper off the bat of Escobar that Chad Pinder tried to barehand and couldn’t.
That brought up Cam Gallagher, and with it came the lore and the glory of the Sonic Slam.
If you don’t know—and since you’re here, it must be assumed that you’ve some interest in the Royals—the Sonic Slam inning offers a lucky fan $100 if a Royal hits a homer in a particular frame, the sixth inning in this season. But a grand slam… a grand slam will net you $25,000.
Cam Gallagher made Tim Brown exceedingly happy.
— Dani Welniak (@KCTVDani) August 15, 2017
I have yet to bring up Kansas City starter Jake Junis, and there’s a good reason for that—he didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t do anything great either, posting just two strikeouts. He just tossed six innings of solid, unspectacular four-hit, two-earned ball, with a bases-loaded HBP the only other run across for the A’s on this night.
Gallagher and Junis grew through the minors together; given the success the two have had in Junis’ last couple of outings, that partnership should continue at least until Salvador Perez returns to action.
Mike Minor, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter combined for three innings of one-hit ball to close it out against Oakland. Cue up the mean tweets about the Royals bullpen, then put those takes in the trash where they belong… until tomorrow.
So that was fun. The Royals could even take the series if they were so inclined in tomorrow’s contest; Jason Hammel, having surrendered three earned or fewer in 11 of his last 12 outings, will face Chris Smith, he of the non-descript name and game to go with it, at 9:05 p.m. (CT).