Thursday, June 26, 2008

Game 79: Colorado @ Kansas City

Game Date: June 25, 2008
Royals 4, Rockies 2 / Box Score
WP: Hochevar (5-5), LP: Cook (10-5), SV: Soria (21)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 36-43

The Royals continued their winning ways last night and this time the hero was an unlikely source: Ross Gload. Gload says he found something in the batting cage recently while working with hitting coach Mike Barnett. Whatever it was, it translated into a 3-for-3 performance with 2 RBI last night. With the Royals up 2-1 in the sixth inning, Gload roped a ball down the right field line for a two-run double and the Royals pitching staff took it from there.

Luke Hochevar pitched a career-high eight innings and at times had everything going his way. He struggled early and late, and in the middle innings he retired 10 straight. I was impressed by two things. First, that he was able to wiggle off the hook when he got into trouble. Second, that Trey Hillman left him out there. He only threw 95 pitches, but in years past, Buddy Bell would have went to the bullpen much earlier. I like seeing a starter go deep into a game. When Hillman finally did hand the ball to Joakim Soria for the ninth, nearly everybody knew the game was over. And it was.

With the win, the Royals have their third five-game winning streak of the season. They've won ten of their last eleven games. They've gone 15-9 since the dreaded twelve-game losing streak. And they are even doing a little scoreboard watching. Here's a quote from Mark Grudzielanek, who is still sidelined with a bad back:

"Yeah, I saw Cleveland lost tonight," he said. "It's nice. We're in a very challenging division and it's up in the air right now. If we can get a little more consistent out there, I think we can be within striking distance of the division leaders."

The Royals have moved into fourth place in the AL Central and are seven games behind the White Sox, who are in first place.

The Royals are off today. They'll begin a new series on Friday against the Cardinals. Gil Meche (5-8, 4.91) will go up against Joel Pineiro (2-3, 3.86). Meche is 0-0 in his career against the Cardinals with a 7.71 ERA in 4.2 IP. Pineiro is 4-1 against the Royals with a 3.12 ERA in 43.1 IP.

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