Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, and Danny Duffy all came through in a big way for the Royals on Thursday in the team’s 4-3 victory over the Yankees. Other than the win to end the 12-game skid, this was the team’s most important victory of 2012 thus far.
Duffy (2-2) got the win by throwing 5.1 quality innings, giving up just 2 ER on 6 hits while recording 6 K and 2 BB. In traditional Duffy fashion, his pitch count was relatively high at the time of his exit (90 pitches - 52 strikes). But this start was really important for Danny and the Royals.
Coming into the game, the Royals were winless at home thanks to that dreaded 10-game homestand. The team needed to get off to a good start at home this time around and are charged with facing the Yankees for the first four games and the Red Sox for the last three. So, needless to say, they’re going to need a solid outing from each of their starting pitchers. And that’s exactly what Duffy gave the Royals last night.
Jarrod Dyson, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas shaped the game for KC.
Dyson had perhaps the best game of his big league career, going 2-for-4, including an infield single and a run scored. But his offense wasn’t what made the most noise last night. Dyce actually had a great game defensively. The Yankees sent the ball deep to center with runners on three times. Now anyone who has watched him roam center this season knows that Dyson, who possesses world-class speed, has frequently taken gotten poor reads and/or taken poor paths to flyballs which often lead to extra-base hits and runs scored. But Dyson owned center field last night, keeping the Yankees offense at bay, by making solid plays on the fly toward the center field wall that guys like Mitch Maier might not have been able to reach.
Hosmer showed signs that he’s ready to bust out of his slump by hitting a RBI single into center in the 3rd and a two-out single to left field in the 5th. He came around to score later in the inning. In the bottom of the 9th, with nobody out and runners on first and second, Mark Teixeira hit a sure seeing-eye single, which probably would have scored Jeter from second if it weren’t for a diving stab by Chris Getz. Getz then flipped the ball to Escobar for the out at second. With Granderson coming into second hard, Escobar did all he could to get the throw off to first. Hosmer made a terrific pick on the ball as Escobar’s throw tailed into the dirt to complete the double-play, beating Teixeira to the bag by a nose.
But the player of the game clearly was Mike Moustakas. What a game…
In the bottom of the 2nd, Moustakas sent rookie David Phelps’ (0-2) 3-1 pitch deep to dead center for a solo homerun, his 4th on the young season, giving the Royals an early 1-0 lead. The unofficial-official tape on Moose’s bomb had it measured out at 420 ft.
In the top of the 4th, with a Yankee runner on first, Eduardo Nunez hit a choppy groundball to Moose, who made a sharp back-handed stop and threw to Getz at second to start the 5-4-3 double-play. The double-play was critical because the next hitter, Russell Martin, singled to center field. Say Moose bobbles that ball and is only able to get the out at first – now you have runners on first and third with one out. Martin was able to advance from first to second on a Danny Duffy balk. If there was a runner on third in that instance, he would have advanced as well and would have tied the game at 2-2. It’s the little things that go unnoticed that often can make the biggest difference – especially in a one-run game.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 5th, Moose lined a single into right field that scored both Gordon and Hosmer and gave the Royals a 4-1 lead.
Skip ahead to the bottom of the 9th. Two outs, Jeter on third, and Alex Rodriguez at the plate, and the crowd was roaring.
After falling behind 0-2, A-Rod fouled off enough pitches to make Jonathan Broxton start trying to work his off-speed stuff outside the zone. He eventually worked the count to 3-2 when he slapped a slow, chopping, dying grounder toward thirdbase. Moustakas came charging in, picked up the ball bare-handed, and made a terrific, off-balanced throw to Hosmer that beat A-Rod to the bag by a full step to end the game and seal the win.
The “Moooooose” calls seemed to rain down on Kauffman all night and spilled all the way out into the parking lot after the game.
Moose was clutch, pure and simple.
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