Monday, August 11, 2008

Game 118: Minnesota @ Kansas City

Game Date: August 10, 2008
Royals 5, Twins 4 / Box Score
WP: Tejeda (1-2), LP: Breslow (0-1)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 54-64

I'm sure that when Trey Hillman inserted Tony Pena into the game yesterday as a pinch runner for Billy Butler in the eighth inning, he had no idea that Pena would end up hitting twice as the DH, but that's what happened. Here's how the Royals website set the scene for Pena's game-winning hit in the twelfth inning:

"Never mind the .148 batting average coming into the game. Never mind the 0-for-17 recent slide with sporadic at-bats. In an ironic twist of fate, Pena found himself in the designated-hitter slot late in Sunday's game against the Twins. He proceeded to go 2-for-2, including a game-winning single in the 12th that lifted the Royals to a 5-4 triumph at Kauffman Stadium."

Rather than falling into the "never mind" category, I'd say the situation falls more into the "even a broken clock is right twice a day" category. But who cares? A win is a win and it probably shouldn't have been.

Gil Meche walked seven guys. Seven. And he gave up four runs in 6.1 innings on 117 pitches. But the bullpen didn't allow the Twins to score another run and the Royals clawed their way back into the game in the eighth with two runs to tie the game, 4-4, and send it into extra innings.

Several guys had a nice day at the plate for the Royals. How about Jason Smith filling in at second base and going 2-for-5 in the nine hole? Mitch Maier continues to hit--he was 2-for-6. Mark Teahen was 3-for-5. And Tony Pena was 2-for-2.

So the Royals salvaged the final game of the series and knocked the Twins out of first place in the AL Central. The Royals also stayed ahead of the Indians by one game. When you look at the number of runs we've been outscored by this season (80), it's a miracle that we're not in last place, given that the Indians have outscored their opponents by seven runs.

The Royals are off today. They'll begin a new series in Chicago tomorrow night. That should be interesting. The rotation will get a bit of a shakeup since Zack Greinke is beginning to serve his five game suspension. Brian Bannister (7-10, 5.37) will get the start in the first game of the series. He'll go up against Javier Vazquez (8-10, 4.74). Bannister is 2-1 against the White Sox in his career with a 7.44 ERA. Vazquez is 7-2 against the Royals with a 3.24 ERA

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