Pen to Win, Royals Win 4-2
Greg Holland got his 100th career save tonight in a 4-2 win, so that's a huge accomplishment for him.
Jason Vargas was very solid over five innings of work, and only allowed two earned runs while striking out five San Francisco batters. Both Giants runs were scored in the third inning when Joaquin Arias doubled in Pablo Sandoval to put San Fran on the board. Matt Duffy singled in Joaquin Arias, and that would be it as far as scoring for the Giants.
Two outfield assists from Nori Aoki really saved the game for the Royals. Aoki's first assist was to third to gun down Hunter Pence (Hunter Pence can't parallel park.) His second assist was to home plate to throw out Joaquin Arias.
Kansas City's scoring got started in the first inning on a two-run home run from Billy Butler. In the sixth inning, Butler added his third RBI of the night when he singled in Omar Infante. Alex Gordon chipped in tonight with an RBI single to score Salvador Perez.
It was a big night for the bullpen. Four innings of shutout baseball with six strikeouts. The quiet acquisition of Jason Frasor was one of the few good ones that Dayton Moore made before the trade deadline. Frasor has now pitched 5.2 innings, and has given up no earned runs, and struck out eight batters. Wade Davis made me feel like I was back in 2012 watching Jonathan Broxton, who always seemed to flirt with disaster every night, but would somehow get out of it.
After the All-Star break, Ned Yost and Dayton Moore said that if there were going to be improvements, it would have to be internally. Billy Butler has provided exactly that. For whatever reason, people still find a reason to complain about it. Yes, there was a base running error tonight, but it didn't effect the game. Let's have fun with stats, shall we? As a first baseman this year here are Billy's stats: .349/.391/.605 with two home runs in 43 at-bats. In 357 at-bats as the team's DH, Billy is .261/.310/.336 with three home runs. It will be...or should be a tough decision to move Billy Butler back to DH when Eric Hosmer comes back from the DL. If I were the Royals, and I'm not, I would trade Hosmer for an outfield bat, or try to find a James Shields replacement when he leaves.
Shields will be on the hill tomorrow for the Royals. Shields has had two very good starts his last couple trips to the mound, and hopes to continue his success. The Royals will have the tall task of facing Tim Hudson. Hudson this year has a 2.74 ERA, and has a 2.24 ERA in away games this year.
The Royals have won five straight, and tomorrow will go for their sixth series win in a row. I think the Royals are a legitimate playoff contending team, and I hope they can keep on rolling.