Royals against a pair of Sox
K.C. had a great series against the Chicago White Sox at home under the blistering Kansas City sun. With temperatures nearing 100 for each of the 3 games, tempers culminated in a brawl in the final game of the series. Threats were made, drama ensued, and the Royals and Sox were headliners in the news over the weekend.
Game 1 Friday night at the K saw the Sox in a 4-2 victory in the debut of Ken Griffey Jr. Griffey ended an efficient night 2-3 with 2 RBI’s with a pair of singles. Luke Hochevar gave up 4 runs in 6 innings, as the KC bats were limited to 6 hits, all singles. Starter Javier Vasquez got his 8 th win of the year, as Bobby Jenks closed the door on the light-hitting Royals with his 22 nd save.
Game 2 saw the boys in blue bounce back with a 9-7 offensive victory Saturday afternoon. Gametime was moved up to 3pm (originally slated for 6pm) for Fox T.V. purposes, as temperatures outside soared. Esteban German, Billy Butler, and Jose Guillen combined to shell normally reliable Sox starter Mark Buerhle. German was a HR short of the cycle, Butler had his 7 th HR of the year and played 1B, and Jose Guillen hit his team-leading 15 th homerun, all combining to get 8 runs off Buerhle. Joakim Soria had to work a little harder than normal for his 31’s save of the year, pitching 1 2/3 innings, striking out 2.
Game 3 made headlines everywhere, as a brawl ensued in the 5th inning. Royals DH/Catcher (and perhaps the biggest, strongest guy on the team) Miguel Olivo, upset after being hit by Sox pitcher DJ Carrasco, charged the mound. He was caught from behind by A.J. Pierzynski, and threw several punches, landing one on AJ’s head. Manager Ozzie Guillen was ejected for arguing with the umpires that same inning. Royals pitcher Zack Greinke plunked Nick Swisher in the 7 th and was promptly ejected, as was Royals manager Trey Hillman. Guillen promised that he would “see the Royals many more times” ominously sounding like this bean war was far from over. Lost in the brawl was a great offensive performance by the Royals, in their 14-3 victory. Greinke got his 9 th win of the year, striking out 6. SS Mike Aviles and Jose Guillen hit their 7 th and 16 th HR’s of the year to power K.C., taking the series 2-1 from the Sox.
The Royals kept their momentum against the Red Sox Monday night, squeaking out a 4-3 win against Clay Bucholtz and Boston. Gil Meche, again was outstanding for K.C. pitching 6 strong innings, striking out 9 and allowing 2 earned runs. Meche did walk 5 batters, but had his strikeout pitches working. Alex Gordon hit his 13 th HR of the year, and Joakim Soria captured his 32 nd save of the season.
Game 2 saw K.C. trying to keep their winning streak alive against Sox’ ace Josh Beckett. The Red Sox offense got going this night to the tune of 8 runs, led by a 4-5, 2 double night by newly acquired Jason Bay. Bay hit his 2 nd double deep off of the centerfield wall, and as the ball rolled on TOP of the wall, Royals’ OF Ross Gload knocked it back into play preventing the HR. That turned out to be the lone highlight for KC as Beckett shut the Royals down in 6 2/3 innings of dominating 7 strikeout pitching.
The series finale against Boston saw knuckleball thrower Tim Wakefield tow the stripe for the Sox against KC and rooke Luke Hochevar. It was a pitchers duel in the beginning, with 0 runs through 4 innings, with both pitchers locked in. Boston eventually prevailed with another 8-2 victory. Jacoby Ellsbury, unfortunately for the Royals, came out of a deep hitting slump tonight going 3-4 with his 6 th HR of the year, along with 3 RBI’s. Jason Bay continued to stay hot for his new team with a 2-5 2 Run night. Tim Wakefield gave up just 1 ER through 6, striking out 6 Royals hitters with his floating knuckleball. Billy Butler was the lone hitting star for K.C. as he continues his torrid post-All Star break pace, with a 3-4 night raising his average to .272. Billy Butler was put on this earth to hit the fastball, and is a much needed contributer for K.C. down the stretch. The Royals look to get back to their winning ways with a series against the division leading Minnesota Twins Friday night in K.C.
By Derek Mueller
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