Monday, June 23, 2008

Game 76: San Francisco @ Kansas City

Game Date: June 22, 2008 
Royals 11, Giants 10 / Box Score
WP: Mahay (3-0), LP: Hinshaw (1-1), SV: Soria (20)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 33-43

It's hard to believe, given the fact that the Royals are ten games under .500, but I'm starting to notice something among Royals fans that I have seen in a long time: pride. I attended both games this weekend (as a fan) and on the way out of the game on Saturday (a 5-3 win), fans were chanting "Let's Go Royals!" all the way around the winding walkways that lead to the parking lot. I heard it again after the 11-10 win yesterday.

Even after the Royals fell behind 10-4 in the fifth inning, people weren't getting up to leave. And it's a good thing they didn't because the Royals scored two runs in the bottom half of the inning and another six in the sixth inning to tie the game. It was one of the craziest games I've ever seen.

The Giants had phenom, Tim Lincecum, on the mound and he was overpowering guys early. Kyle Davies on the other hand struggled big time. He couldn't even get out of the second inning (he gave up five earned runs in 1.1 IP). But Lincecum couldn't throw anything for a strike except his fastball. He got several guys to chase breaking balls down, but as the pitches mounted, his chances of sticking around long enough to go deep into the game diminished. The Royals ended up scoring five runs against him and once they got into the Giants bullpen, they had little trouble getting on base or scoring.

Every Royal in the lineup had at least one hit. David DeJesus was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. Jose Guillen was 2-for-5 with 1 RBI. Mike Aviles was 1-for-5 (including a two-run double in the sixth that tied the game) with 3 RBI. Mark Teahen was 2-for-4. So was Ross Gload. Tony Pena even had a hit. The Royals are still near the bottom of the AL in most offensive categories, but Mike Aviles has added a spark to the offense that we haven't had all year. With Guillen, DeJesus, and Aviles hitting well, it seems to be taking the pressure off other guys.

In such a high scoring game it might be easy to overlook the bullpen, but we shouldn't let that happen in this case. Ron Mahay was brilliant in the seventh and eighth inning, giving up no hits and one walk. He was the first guy from either pen who was able to get guys out, and he picked up the win for his effort. Joakim Soria entered the game with the stadium rocking to Welcome to the Jungle and he finished the Giants off for his twentieth save of the season.

Tonight, the Royals will begin a new series at home against Colorado. Brian Bannister (6-6, 4.81) will go up against Jeff Francis (3-6, 5.22). Bannister is 0-0 in his career against the Rockies with a 5.40 ERA in 5.0 IP. Francis is 1-0 against the Royals with a 1.88 ERA in 14.1 IP.

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