No solution for sweeplessness
Guthrie, Royals take finale in Baltimore
Kansas City 6, Orioles 2
OK, wait just a second here. First we saw Miguel Tejada, playing third base on Tuesday night. Then it was Bruce Chen, tossing a couple innings of Wednesday relief. And now Jeremy Guthrie? Is this the Kansas City Royals, or Oriole Fantasy Camp?
(Or actually … George Kottaras? Mike Moustakas? Maybe it’s the Greek national team! [In which case they must be confused as to why Nick Markakis is playing right for the home team, as opposed to anchoring the starting rotation.] Why hasn’t Angelos signed these guys?)
Anyway, the bullet points. Let’s keep this one quick, no?
- Because there’s not a heck of a lot to discuss. Nothing fun, anyway. Probably the biggest talking point would be the role-reversal pulled by the respective starting hurlers: the aforementioned Guthrie, for the Royals, and the Orioles’ Freddy Garcia. We’ll start with the former, with respect to whom it looked as though the O’s might put a few dings in that sparkling ERA (2.40, entering the evening) and win-loss record (4-0, coming in, with KC 5-1 in games Guthrie had started). The prospects certainly looked good for the Birds in the second, which started innocuously enough, until poor Alcides Escobar, he of the nightmare inning the night prior, made yet another throwing error, ushering Adam Jones aboard. Chris Davis would line an at-’im ball to left for the inning’s first out, but singles from Matt Wieters and a heating-right-up J.J. Hardy followed, and the Orioles were on the board with the game’s first run. Troublingly, though — at least in hindsight — the team might’ve run itself out of the inning, with an aggressive (but still very slow) Wieters attempting to take third on Hardy’s bloop to center, and getting summarily gunned down. True, it was the second out of the frame, meaning Wieters hadn’t contravened that ironclad baseball law, the one about not making the first or third out at third, but still. As it’d turn out, a Davis bomb to right-center (440 feet, no big deal) in the fourth would be the only other run the O’s would post …
- Which wouldn’t be enough to keep the Royals at bay in this one. Which was sad stuff for Garcia, who, until hitting a (metaphorical) wall at the three-and-a-third mark, appeared well on the way to repeating his debut performance. Once again he was cruising, refusing to allow a baserunner until Lorenzo Cain’s one-out infield single, a bouncer down the third-base line that Manny Machado, having to gun the ball across the diamond if he was to have a chance at retiring the speedy Cain, air-mailed to Davis at first; Davis leapt to corral it, but couldn’t slap the tag on the passing Royal center fielder. And now the game got very, very slow. But if it was Garcia’s plan to keep Cain honest at first, or to break Alex Gordon’s rhythm at the plate, it didn’t work very well; Gordon crushed a 2-1 Garcia fastball, right down the pike, out onto the flag court in right. That’s three straight games (or every contest in this series) Gordon had homered. Dammit, kid, save some for later! Worse, now operating at a 2-1 deficit, Garcia proceeded to cough up a single to Billy Butler before Eric Hosmer sliced a homer of his own into the stands in left-center. Incredibly enough, that was the Kansas City cleanup man’s first dinger of the year. 4-1, Royals.
- And like we said, while Davis’s mammoth swat would shrink the margin to 4-2, it was to be the last run the Orioles would plate, on this particular evening, while the Royals would add a pair more, courtesy of a Moustakas homer to greet T.J. McFarland in the seventh and a Salavador Perez RBI single off newcomer Alex Burnett in the eighth (the run charged to McFarland, by the by), none of which this reporter feels much like describing in any additional detail, being as it’s pretty likely his readers watched the game, and would rather not relive its dismal late innings. But hey, Pedro Strop worked a scoreless, one-two-three ninth! So hey, a silver lining, no? Not to mention that the Birds had already secured themselves another series win, and that, while sweepless on the season, still, neither have they been swept. On to Minnesota … see you then, sportsfans.