Now that's more like it! Royals win, end ridiculous 11-game slide
The Royals last saw fireworks on April 8, a full two weeks ago.
After watching Friday night's game, you sort of had a feeling that something like this was coming. The Royals had a great offensive approach at the plate in the first game of the series vs. the Tribe, and they carried that into tonight's game, halting their 11-game slide while picking up their first win since April 8th. They attacked Paul Byrd, hanging four runs on him in the first and jumping out to a 7-0 lead after three innings, and that was more than enough support for a surprisingly effective combination of Joe Mays and Mike Wood.
Mays, in fact, was perfect through the first three innings, and thanks to a miraculous double play turned in by Angel Berroa, he entered the fifth inning having faced the minimum. It fell apart for Mays right there, and he was forced to turn the game over to Wood with two outs, two on, and a 7-3 lead. On the night, Mays was charged with four earned runs on four hits in 4.2 innings of work. Those certainly aren't great stats, but against an offensive powerhouse like the Indians, RC couldn't have expected anything better.
RC was pleased with Mays' outing today.
Wood, however, was incredible. He took over in the fifth and finished the game, tossing 4.1 innings while allowing just three hits and an unearned run. With the Royals staked a nice lead, Wood did exactly what he was supposed to do -- throw strikes. He didn't walk a single batter, and 36 of his 55 pitches were over the plate as he picked up his second victory of the year.
Of course, the true star of today's game was the offense, which has now collected 25 hits over the last two days. Everyone except Paul Bako and Mike Sweeney got in on the act, and even Sweeney had a key RBI on a sacrifice fly. Doug Mientkiewicz (two-run double) and Emil Brown (two-run single) delivered the big blows in the first inning, and Reggie Sanders launched a big RBI double in the sixth inning. Shane Costa continued to look solid at the plate, picking up two more hits, as did Mark Grudzielanek, who continues to lead the Royals with a .317 BA.
The teams play the rubber match tomorrow afternoon, as the Tribe sends Jason Johnson to the hill to oppose the unpredictable Jeremy Affeldt. The Royals have had both success and failure in the past vs. Johnson, and if Affeldt can replicate his command from his last outing, the Royals just might be able to take the series. It all hinges on which Jeremy Affeldt will show up tomorrow.
RC has a few more observations:
Mark Grudzielanek is getting it done this year.
Brown might be starting to heat up.
However, RC has begun to see the old Brown over the last two games, and even though he still took a couple swings that made us cringe, we're starting to see that compact swing and competent, confident approach at the plate. We look for him to get back on track very soon, and we still expect him to eclipse last year's numbers before the season is done.
Dougie Fresh did everything right tonight.
It's sure nice to be able to write about a win.