For the second time in three days, the Kansas City Royals won on a walk-off home run. Facing two on and two out, new Royals catcher Matt Treanor took a Jason Bulger 3-1 slider deep into the late April afternoon sky to give the Royals a come from behind 12-9 victory. With the win, Kansas City now sits as 3-1, having won the last three games. That ties last season's longest string of consecutive victories.
The Royals jumped on Angels starter Scott Kazmir from the beginning, scoring five runs in the first two innings. Kazmir lasted just 1.2 innings, giving up five runs and two walks on 63 pitches, including a two out second inning solo home run by Melky Cabrera.
The long ball was a theme of the day, as the two teams combined for eight home runs, one sky of the Kauffman Stadium record. A stiff wind blowing out to right field, approaching 40 miles-per-hour, combined with an early April heat wave made conditions perfect for a high scoring game. Cabrera, Billy Butler, and Treanor all homered for Kansas City, while Howie Kendrick had two home runs for the Angels, and three for the series.
Los Angeles was able to claw back against Royals starter Bruce Chen, scoring twice in both the third and fourth innings to draw within one. Chen finished with five innings pitched, giving up five runs on eight hits, while striking out three and walking two. Chen gave up solo home runs to Macier Izturis and Kendrick in the third, and again to Kendrick in the fifth.
Eventually the Royals found themselves in a two-run hole going into the bottom of the ninth, with Angels closer Fernando Rodney on the hill. Rodney last just a third of an inning as he walked Alex Gordon leading off the ninth. After Butler lined out sharply to shortstop, Ka`aihue and Francoeur walked, before Wilson Betemit doubled with the bases loaded to tie the game. The damage was done and Kevin Jepsen came into to relieve Rodney.
After the game became tied, the Royals had the bases loaded with one out and Treanor at the plate. In yesterday's 8th inning rally, Treanor contributed a key hit in the comeback to defeat the Angeles. However Jepsen got Treanor to hit a grounder to Alberto Callaspo that caused a force out at the plate, and then Mike Aviles grounded to Callaspo to end the inning and take both teams into extras for the first time this season.
Joakim Soria took to the mound in the 10th inning and after retiring the first batter, gave up a single to Izturis, who was then caught stealing by Treanor. After walking Kendrick, Abreu singled to give the Angles a first and third situation with two out. However, Torri Hunter popped up the first pitch he saw to Alcides Escobar to end the inning.
The extra innings didn't produce much offense as both teams found themselves in less than ideal roster situations as the game went on. Kansas City was out of bench players, while Los Angeles eventually was down to Bulger, the last man in the bullpen.
In the bottom of the 13th inning, Chris Getz reached on an error and stole second (one of six Royals stolen bases on the day). Jeff Francouer then grounded out, advancing Getz to third. After Wilson Betemit was intentionality walked, Alcides Escobar reached first on a fielder's choice to Bulger who threw out Getz at home. That all set the stage for Treanor, who has had one heck of week. After being traded to Kansas City on Monday, Treanor was involved in plays at the plate which resulted in saved runs on Thursday and Saturday. Then today after not expecting to play, Treanor was inserted into the lineup in the ninth inning after Jarrod Dyson had pitch-ran for Brayan Pena in the eighth inning.
Rookie Tim Collins was brilliant as he picked up the victory for Kansas City, tossing three innings of relief and giving up just two hits. He struck out five. Bulger took the loss for Los Angeles. It was the second day in a row that a rookie picked up the win for Kansas City, as former Mizzou standout Aaron Crow picked up his first career win yesterday.
Kansas City has an off day tomorrow and then will be facing the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday at 7:10CST inside Kauffman Stadium. Luke Hochevar will start for the Royals. The boxscore from today can be viewed here.