Judging the Royals

Royals-Rays game one: KC wins on walk-off grand slam and other moments of interest

Salvador Perez drenched Paulo Orlando (16) after Orlando hit a ninth-inning grand slam to lift the Royals to a 9-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in game one of a split doubleheader Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.
Salvador Perez drenched Paulo Orlando (16) after Orlando hit a ninth-inning grand slam to lift the Royals to a 9-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in game one of a split doubleheader Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium. JSLEEZER@KCSTAR.COM

Well, if you didn’t play hooky Tuesday, you shoulda. The Royals had a roller-coaster ride in the ninth inning.

Greg Holland gave up the lead but kept the game tied. Then in the bottom of the inning, Eric Hosmer singled, Alex Rios singled and Omar Infante walked.

With the bases loaded and one out, Paulo Orlando was looking for a ball he get in the air. He wanted a sacrifice fly at a minimum but wound up with the maximum: a walk-off grand slam.

Royals win 9-5.

The other moments of interest

▪ Alex Rios did not have a good game until the ninth inning, when he singled to keep the line moving. Before the ninth, he made a couple base-running mistakes and chased a pitch down in the strike zone to hit an inning-ending double play in the first inning. All’s well that ends well?

▪ Drew Butera got hit by a pitch but did it in the right way. He rotated his front shoulder back toward the catcher. That protects the face and the bones in the hands and wrists.

▪ Alex Gordon got hit by a pitch, and that one caught him on the hand. It caused some worry because Gordon showed pain and had to be checked by the trainer before going to first base. Alex stayed in the game, but the ball was taken out of play.

▪ After giving up a leadoff triple, the game was tied on a slider that Greg Holland threw in the dirt. When a fastball bounces, it continues in a straight line. When a breaking pitch bounces, it caroms off at an angle. The pitch bounced and then kicked back in a new direction and caught the catcher, Butera, on the arm.

▪ Alcides Escobar bunted for a double when he popped the ball up and Rays pitcher Everett Teaford, a former Royal, dived for the ball and knocked it toward foul territory.

▪ Chris Young felt he had better stuff than his final line — six innings and four earned runs — indicated. But he did keep the game close and stuck around long enough to give the ball to Herrera, Davis and Holland.

▪ I asked Greg Holland afterward whether he would be available to pitch in game two of the doubleheader. Holland said he didn’t know for sure. He was heading to see the trainers and let them work their magic. Stay tuned to see whether what they did worked.

Two errors that weren’t

One was on Eric Hosmer when a throw broke the webbing of his mitt and went through it. Hosmer has had that mitt awhile, and I imagine it will get restrung and go back into play.

The second was error was on Alcides Escobar when a ball took a bad hop, came up and hit him in the wrist. Here’s the pertinent part of the rule book:

Rule 9.05(a)(2) Comment: The official scorer shall credit a hit if the fielder attempting to handle the ball cannot make a play, even if such fielder deflects the ball from or cuts off another fielder who could have put out a runner. (3) the batter reaches first base safely on a fair ball that takes an unnatural bounce so that a fielder cannot handle it with ordinary effort

Time to eat — again

OK, we’ve got a couple of hours before game two, so I’m going to do what reporters do when they’re bored. I’m going to eat. See you at 7:10 p.m.

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