As Aaron Crow warmed up in the eighth inning of Monday’s home opener, the Royals trailed by a run, and his task appeared to be keeping the Twins at bay.
By PETE GRATHOFF
The Kansas City Star
But a three-run rally changed everything. When Crow entered in the ninth, it was a save situation.
“I was pumped when we started scoring runs,” Crow said, adding that he had a little extra adrenaline because the Royals took the lead.
Crow struck out Trevor Plouffe, walked Chris Parmelee on a 3-2 pitch, then got Brian Dozier to hit into a double play.
That secured the Royals’ 3-1 victory and came without the drama the Royals had faced in their last two games against the Phillies.
“It was nice to be quick out there,” Crow said.
Closer Greg Holland had a rough weekend in Philadelphia after taking the loss Saturday when he failed to protect a 3-1 lead. On Sunday, Holland allowed two hits and a run in the ninth and was replaced by Kelvin Herrera, who wobbled a bit before saving the 9-8 victory.
Because Herrera and Holland had each pitched Saturday and Sunday, manager Ned Yost had no intention of using either pitcher on Monday.
“I wasn’t going to throw them today,” said Yost, who reiterated that Holland is the closer. “I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through it. (Starter Ervin) Santana took care of that. But it’s just too early to be pitching these guys three days in a row.
“Crow was well-rested, had a day under his belt, and it was an easy decision.”
While it was the third save of Crow’s career, this marked the first time he’s ever started the ninth inning in a save situation.
Not that Yost was concerned.
“Aaron’s an All-Star. Aaron Crow is an All-Star,” Yost said of Crow’s 2011 selection to the Midsummer Classic. “It’s a dumb phrase, but he’s one of the Big Four between (Tim) Collins, Crow, Herrera and Holland.
“I’ve got confidence in any one of those four guys coming in and closing a game out.”
Crow hasn’t allowed a run this season in four innings, giving up just two hits with one walk and three strikeouts. His previous three appearances were nice, but nothing like Monday.
“It was awesome, especially on opening day,” said Crow, who attended high school in Topeka and pitched at Mizzou. “It’s something I grew up watching the Royals play and always dreamed of being able to be there on the mound. I was fortunate to be able to go out there and get the job done today.”
To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff