Moustakas all alone atop Royals home run leaderboard; Royals thrash Jays

You gotta give the Kansas City Royals this—when it’s going well, it’s going REALLY well.

And it went really, really, REALLY well Wednesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.

(According to Twitter, Mike Moustakas also did something of relative importance. We’ll get to that in moments.)

As a group, the Royals pounded Toronto. Just beat the breaks off them. With 15 runs on 18 hits (accumulated by 13 different Royals, a franchise single-game record I take no credit for finding because Clint Scoles posted it to our Slack channel), Kansas City forced the Blew Jehs into a modified staff day and cranked three home runs—including the big one, Moustakas’ record-breaking 37th home run of the season in the sixth inning.

Not a wall-scraper, that one.

You’ve likely noticed Mike Moustakas hadn’t done much homering since hitting No. 36 on September 1. In fact, he hadn’t hit any home runs since then. And with the season winding to its conclusion, every passing day made it likely that he would remain tied with Steve Balboni atop the single-season list in perpetuity, since… well, let’s not spoil a good night. For more detail, here’s more detail.

So Moustakas got the proverbial monkey off his back as part of a hitting barrage, and will go down in Royals lore for more than just a World Series ring, although that’s a fine thing to have, too. There’s more to unpack here, and yet… [voices drops to a whisper] 37 home runs would not be cause for a huge celebration among other franchises.

In non-Moustakas news, the Royals scored eight runs in the second inning. Not to go too in-depth on the stats here, but some fun facts:

  • They’d scored eight or more runs just twice in September. Not in an inning—an entire game.
  • It took until May 14 for the Royals to score eight or more runs in a game.
  • In six games from April 16-22, the Royals scored seven total runs.
  • 18 times in the previous 150 games, the Royals had scored eight or more runs.

You get the idea. Generally speaking, bit of an aberration with the run-scoring and what-not. Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield homered. Every starter got a hit. Alcides Escobar drove in two runs. It was fun for the whole family!

On the mound, Jake Junis picked up win number eight (insert obligatory ‘wins don’t matter’ language as mandated by baseball statheads everywhere), scattering three hits and four runs (two earned) because Toronto was hapless (as in JA Happ didn’t pitch; that’s a brutal joke). I didn’t feel amazing about Kelvin Herrera giving up another home run, but honestly it’s not important at this stage in the season, and it certainly didn’t matter in a 10-run game.

And so that’s basically where we are now. The Royals are playing out the string but not really, clinging to life with playoff odds like milk—two percent (get it; I am on fire with bad puns). Moustakas and the rest of the core are likely playing their last dozen or so games together; everything is bad and I’m sad.

But if Moustakas hitting home run No. 37 to surpass Balboni is the final relevant moment of this core group of players, then I’ll take it.

Jason Vargas gets the call Thursday night against Happ and the Jays at 6:07 p.m. (CT). Vargas was good last time out! Maybe he will be again!

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