Opinion

Not flawless but HDH is effective in Royals’ victory

Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera pitched a scoreless seventh inning against the Rays on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.
Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera pitched a scoreless seventh inning against the Rays on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium. JSLEEZER@KCSTAR.COM

The first HDH appearance — innings by Royals relievers Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland — since June 22, wasn’t the cleanest collective effort, but the Royals got the result on Tuesday.

Holland was handed a one-run lead in the ninth, and that usually means it’s time for fans to reach for the car keys. The trio was a primary force in the Royals’ run into and through the playoffs last season.

But a leadoff triple by the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier turned into the tying run. The game was untied and won by the Royals 9-5 on Paulo Orlando’s grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.

“Not giving up any runs, that’s my job,” Holland said. “But after the one scored you’ve got to let it go and give your team a chance to score.”

Holland said he took a chance on Kiermaier not swinging at the first pitch, but the speedy Kiermaier ambushed a fastball and drove it into the right field corner.

Royals manager Ned Yost thought he caught a break when Kiermaier slid past the bag at third, but after a 4-minute replay review, it was ruled that Kiermaier had his foot on the bag when third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert applied a tag.

During the delay, Holland said he thought Kiermaier was safe, “but I was telling myself he’s safe and thinking about how I’m going to pitch my way out it to try and win the game.”

Davis surrendered two hits in the eighth, and Herrera gave up a hit and worked out of a first and third jam with strike threes that registered 100 and 99 on the scoreboard radar gun.

Final tally for HDH: three innings, four hits, two walks, five strikeouts, one run and a victory.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @BlairKerkhoff.

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