The zeros on the Royals side of the line score were piling up at a chilling rate through 1 1/2 games of the World Series.
Entering the sixth inning Wednesday, the Royals had plated three runs over the previous 14 frames, and although game two opened with some promise, it quickly dissolved into nail-biting frustration.
Had the Royals bats packed up for the offseason?
The sixth inning provided the answer. Five runs, with Billy Butler and Salvador Perez coming up huge with RBI hits and Omar Infante clubbing his first postseason home run.
All’s well that ended well in the Royals’ 7-2 triumph at Kauffman Stadium that sent the series to San Francisco tied at one game apiece.
Maybe the Royals have regained the stroke that has been missing for a while. But this much is certain, they weren’t concerned the dormancy would endure.
“We just had to continue to fight,” center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. “We’re a very aggressive team. We were jumping on pitches early and were off a little bit.”
The Royals let Giants starter Jake Peavy off the hook. After scoring single runs in the first two innings, the Royals appeared to have Peavy measured.
But instead of keeping up the pressure, Royals hitters made it easy for the Giants. After a 20-pitch first inning, Peavy settled in and threw just 44 over the next four, including a seven pitch fourth inning.
This came on the heels of Tuesday, when the Royals were dominated by Madison Bumgarner. Salvador Perez’s solo home run was one of four hits in a 7-1 loss.
And the Royals weren’t exactly crushing Orioles pitching during the final two games of the American League Championship Series. They scored four with 12 hits in the two games combined and did not have a hit with a runner in scoring position.
That streak extended to 17 at-bats after Tuesday.
The Royals’ winning formula was coming into play. Score four, and usually don’t need more. They were 69-14 during the regular season when scoring at least four runs and 5-0 the playoffs entering Wednesday.
The Royals appeared headed for another offensive struggle, which might have sent them into game three down two games. But the bats finally awoke from their slumber, just as Royals manager Ned Yost knew they would.
“I think our guys were relaxed,” Yost said. “I didn’t see any tenseness in our game at all.”