Well after last night's devastating loss, many had to wonder how Kansas City would come out this evening against the Cleveland Indians. Was tonight the beginning of a long slide, or would the Royals get back on their feet just like they have done all year and show the fighting spirit we have witnessed early on.
For much of seven innings it looked like the former as behind solid pitching Cleveland took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth before the Kansas City offense started to show signs of life as they scored their first run, and then added two more in the bottom of the ninth of closer Chris Perez to score a dramatic 3-2 victory.
Sean O'Sullivan took the mound tonight for the Royals and did his part to keep Kansas City in the game as he pitched six innings giving up just two runs on five hits to go along with six strikeouts. Cleveland finally got to O'Sullivan in the fifth as the first two batters reached, which lead to a Grady Sizemore singles to no-man's land in between second base and centerfield to score Matt LaPorta. Shin-Soo Choo provided the Tribe with a second run in the inning on his line-out.
Rookie reliever Louis Coleman, who was just called up from Omaha today (Kanekoa Texeira was optioned down to Omaha) came in to pitch two scoreless innings in both the seventh and eighth. Coleman, making his major league debut, gave up two hits while allowing no ones. The Royals defense saved a run when Travis Hafner singled to center in the eighth and Melky Cabrera gunned down Carlos Santana at the plate to hold the deficit at just two runs.
That seemed to spark the offense as the Royals scored in the eighth inning when Kansas City loaded the bases for Jeff Francoeur who hit an infield single to score Chris Getz who had stolen two bases in the inning as well.
Aaron Crow held down the Indians in the top of the ninth to set up the heroics as Perez entered the game. Perez had converted 16 consecutive saves so there certainly was a tall task infront of the Royals if they were to win.
Kila Ka`aihue lead off the inning with a double and then Mitch Maier singled to move pinch runner Mike Aviles to third and give Kansas City a first and third situation with no outs, trailing 2-1. Alcides Escobar reached first on a fielders choice for the first out of the inning, before Getz walked to load the bases.
Cabrera came to the plate and singled to left field to bring in Maier and Escobar as the Royals won on a walk off giving them the 3-2 win and a split of the four game series. Kansas City is still the lone American League team that has yet to lose a series this season. The Royals improved to 12-7 and stayed within one game of the division lead as Cleveland fell to 13-6. Aaron Crow picked up the win and moved to 2-0, while Perez took the loss is now 0-1.
The Royals hit the road tomorrow for another big test in Texas tomorrow night where Jeff Francis (0-1 3.00 ERA) who has arguably been Kansas City's best starter thus far looks to gain his first victory against Derek Holland (2-1 3.66 ERA).