So the big run barrage that happened Wednesday night? The Royals might’ve been better served hanging on to one or two of those for Thursday’s affair.
Fortunately, the Jason Vargas of April and May returned to stifle the Toronto bats in a 1-0 win to keep Kansas City’s Wild Card hopes, however faintly, alive.
A quick compendium of Toronto’s hits on Thursday night:
- Kendrys Morales singled to lead off the second.
- Darwin Barney singled to lead off the fifth.
End of list.
No Blue Jays baserunner reached second base. The Doctor was surgical, and he made this thing I wrote two weeks ago look pretty stupid (I look pretty stupid anyway; “lightly shaved Wookie” is a phrase I’ve heard ascribed to me). Even better than the precision with which he pitched, Vargas found the strikeout pitch again for the first time in what seemed like eons, sitting down seven Blue Jays on strikes (his most since Aug. 19) and securing just his second quality start since Aug. 1.
I’m not going to call it an anomaly, but Vargas hasn’t put together back-to-back quality starts since the end of June. Maybe what I wrote two weeks ago got shoved in my face tonight, but it’s largely possible that it still stands up the next time he takes the ball.
And lest we give Vargas all the credit for his league-leading 17th win (“Welcome to the MLB in 2017, where everything’s made up and the wins don’t matter!”), the final 2.2 innings were carried by Peter Moylan, Ryan Buchter, Joakim Soria and Mike Minor. That quartet struck out three and didn’t allow a hit—or a walk. They looked like a real pitching staff (first time holding an opponent scoreless since June 2), and on a night that the offense failed to muster anything in the way of sustenance.
Oh, the offense. Everything that happened of importance happened in the third inning—Alex Gordon drew a one-out walk, Lorenzo Cain extended the inning with a two-out single and Melky Cabrera scored Gordon on a line drive single to center.
That was the offense, in its entirety. For all the Jays offensive foibles, the Royals put runners in scoring position just three other times—two of which, in the fourth and sixth innings, were snuffed out by double plays.
Cain had two hits. Melky had three. Salvador Perez collected two more, for some reason. All nine hits in this game were singles. Every paying customer in attendance should probably get either a refund or a free beer at the next game.
I wish I had more to report, but this game was trash if you like runs, hits or anything except routine ground balls to third base. At least the Royals only have to basically win out in order to snag the second Wild Card.
Operation Win Out has commenced in Toronto. Melky Cabrera singles with two outs in the third. 1-0, Royals
— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) September 21, 2017
The Royals kick off their final visit to Chicago Friday night against Reynaldo Lopez and the White Sox at 7:10 p.m. (CT). Jason Hammel dances on the razor’s edge for Kansas City.