Something has happened with the Kansas City Royals. The butt of a lot of jokes through the first two months of this season, Kansas City is 8-3 in June and is now just 5.5 games out of first place in the AL Central. They rallied late to beat the Tigers last night, Detroit is still playing pretty good baseball, so Kansas City hasn't picked up a ton of ground, but after winning their last three series, the Royals aren't a joke right now.
PIC OF THE DAY
Tom Wilhelmsen, and the agony of an awful appearance. (Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports)
Game of the Night: Royals 3, Tigers 2 (ten innings). This game is the rare double feature in the opening, and the GOTN section. Justin Verlander dominated the Royals over sevne innings and left the game to the bullpen to finish the job…whoops. Drew Smyly threw an easy eighth, but allowed a leadoff single to Eric Hosmer in the ninth. Exit Smyly, enter Valverde. Detroit's closer got the first two outs before allowing a game-tying two-run homer to Lorenzo Cain to blow the win for Verlander. In the tenth, Greg Holland threw a shutdown inning for the Royals, and Kansas City won by playing station to station baseball in the bottom of the inning: Miguel Tejada singled, move up a base on each fo the next two outs, and scored the winning run on a walkoff single by Hosmer.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Jeremy Bonderman dominated the Astros before Tom Wilhelmsen imploded in Seattle's 6-1 loss, allowing three hits in eight scoreless innings, walking two and striking out five. He was countered by Jordan Lyles, who gave up three hits in seven shutout frames, walking two and striking out ten. Verlander's final stat line in that Tigers loss to the Royals included seven scoreless innings, three hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts. Mike Leake ran roughshod over the Cubs in a 2-1 Reds win, allowing one run on three hits in eight innings, striking out six and walking one. Alfredo Figaro gave the Brewers a rare great start in their 10-1 thrashing of the Marlins, giving up three hits over seven shutout innings, walking none and striking out four.
Hitting Lines of the Night: In that Milwaukee romp in Miami, Carlos Gomez went 4/5 with three runs, three RBI, and two triples. Brandon Moss led the A's to a 5-2 win over the Yankees, going 2/4 with two homers and three RBI. Clete Thomas was elite in the Twins' 4-3 win over the Phillies, putting together a perfect 4/4 day with one run, two RBI, and two doubles. Albert Pujols performed well for the Angels in their 9-5 win in Baltimore, going 3/5 with two RBI, a double, and a homer. Finally, there's the red hot Starling Marte of the Pirates, helping Pittsburgh to a 12-8 win over the Giants. Marte went 4/5 with four runs and two steals in the victory.
Other Games: The Padres beat the Braves 5-3. The Red Sox held on to beat the Rays 2-1. The Indians beat the Rangers 5-2. The Mets defeated Shelby Miller and the Cardinals 5-1. The Nationals triumphed 5-1 over the Rockies behind the arm of…Ross Ohlendorf!? The Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers 8-6 in 12 innings. The White Sox and Blue Jays fell victim to Mother Nature.
Today's Games: Adam Wainwright takes on Matt Harvey at Citi Field, and I hope the rain doesn't interfere. Mat Latos takes on Jeff Samardzija at Wrigley. Hiroki Kuroda and Jarrod Parker will duel in Oakland. Kevin Gausman starts for the Orioles against the Red Sox. Matt Cain starts in Pittsburgh against the returning Charlie Morton. Yu Darvish and the Rangers host the Blue Jays. Cliff Lee starts for the Phillies in Minnesota.
National TV: Red Sox-Orioles (7 PM, MLB Network), Royals-Rays (7 PM, MLB Network)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.