MINNEAPOLIS — Alex Gordon points to experience in explaining his success this season in delivering walk-off RBI singles. He got his third in Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over Atlanta in 10 innings.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
“It could be from past struggles in those kind of situations,” he said. “I know when the crowd gets really excited and pretty loud, I always like to step out and try to calm myself down, not let the adrenaline get too high or try to do too much.”
Gordon’s one-out single came against Braves reliever Alex Wood and scored David Lough from second base.
That game-winner closed out a notable night for Gordon, who hit a leadoff homer in the first inning. He also had a single in the third inning that led to another run and made some spectacular defensive plays.
Gordon is the second player in franchise history to start the first inning with a homer and later produce a walk-off winner. Gregg Jefferies did it on July 31, 1992, against Oakland.
“You’ve just got a good feeling about Alex,” manager Ned Yost said. “He’s come up clutch in those situations for us, and he did it again.”
Gordon’s other walk-off winners:
• April 14. His one-out single against Darren Oliver in the ninth inning scored Chris Getz from second for a 3-2 victory over Toronto.
• May 5. His two-out RBI single against Brian Omogrosso in the 10th inning scored Lorenzo Cain from third for a 6-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Class AA Northwest Arkansas right-hander Brooks Pounders pitched a no-hitter Thursday in an 11-0 victory over visiting Midland.
Pounders, 22, didn’t walk a batter in a 98-pitch performance. Only two Midland batters reached safely -- one on an error in the third inning, and the other when Pounders hit a batter in the fifth.
The Naturals backed Pounders, 3-4, with a 16-hit attack. He threw 98 pitches and had six strikeouts.
The Royals acquired Pounders from Pittsburgh with infielder Diego Goris in a Dec. 7, 2011 trade for infielder Yamaico Navarro.
Pounders’ gem was the first complete-game no-hitter in Northwest Arkansas’ history, although the Naturals previously had two combined no-hitters.
Greg Holland, on a rehab assignment, worked the first inning of a May 12, 2012 victory over Springfield. Chris Dwyer then went 6 2/3 innings before Brendan Lafferty and Kendal Volz got the final four outs.
Will Smith went the first seven innings in a no-hitter on July 19, 2011 at Arkansas. Kelvin Herrera pitched the final two innings.
Just one inning
Closer Greg Holland breezed through an 11-pitch ninth inning Wednesday with three strikeouts in a tie game. And, yes, Yost briefly considered sending Holland back for a second inning.
“But if you do that,” Yost said, “you can set him back for two or three days — especially if he follows that 11-pitch inning with 20 or more pitches in the next inning.”
So Yost went to Aaron Crow in the 10th inning. Crow got the victory when, after escaping a two-on jam, the Royals scored in the bottom of the inning.
Plus, there’s this: Holland has made 27 straight one-inning appearances — and has limited opponents to two earned runs and 14 hits while striking out 44 and walking seven.
Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson, a former teammate to Crow at Missouri, is scheduled to make his major-league debut Saturday against the Royals.
Gibson, 25, was the No. 22 overall pick in 2009 but surgery in September 2011 to replace a torn elbow ligament — Tommy John surgery — delayed his rise through the minor leagues.
Crow was the No. 12 overall pick in 2009.
“Good for him,” Crow said, then laughed. “I hope we pound him in his debut but, hopefully, after that he does well.”
Gibson was 7-5 with a 3.01 ERA this season in 15 starts at Class AAA Rochester.
Here’s an update on the Defensive Runs Saved stat compiled by the Fielding Bible: The Royals, as a team, have saved 44 runs above average. Toronto is the second-best American League club at plus-18.
The Royals are a combined plus-16 in the outfield. They are also plus-9 at second base, plus-7 at first base and plus-5 at catcher. They are at least plus-1 at every position.
Every other AL club has a minus rating for at least three positions.
Reliever Kelvin Herrera’s latest remedial tour at Class AAA Omaha got off to a rocky start when he yielded two runs in his only inning Thursday in a 4-2 loss to Iowa.
Herrera started the game -- a move designed to make it easier to throw all of his pitches. He gave up a leadoff walk and a one-out homer, to one-time Royals farmhand Donnie Murphy.
Iowa also got a two-out double before Herrera ended the 27-pitch inning. Donnie Joseph replaced Herrera to start the second inning.
The Royals optioned Herrera to Omaha prior to Tuesday’s game against Atlanta. He was 3-5 with a 5.20 ERA in 29 appearances at the time of the move.