Friday, July 25, 2014

Game of the Day (7/24/14)

Royals 2, Indians 1 (14). Cleveland's Corey Kluber took on KC's Danny Duffy in a faceoff of two reasonably young pitchers who hadn't done much before this season, but have been terrific so far in 2014.

Duffy started the game brilliantly, retiring the first 12 Indians he faced. Cleveland finally put a pair of runners on in the fifth when Carlos Santana singled and Ryan Raburn walked, but a force of the lead runner and a pair of strikeouts extinguished the rally. Duffy then worked around a two-out walk in the sixth and allowed another Santana single in the seventh before stranding both runners; he would be removed at the end of the seventh after 108 marvelous pitches.

Tremendous as Duffy was, Kluber was better. The Cleveland right-hander kept the bases Royal-free all the way through the sixth, finally allowing his first hit to Omar Infante with one out in the seventh and then seeing him caught stealing while Alex Gordon struck out.

Wade Davis relieved Duffy in the top of the eighth; he allowed a single to Jose Ramirez, walked Jason Kipnis, and gave up a single to pinch hitter David Murphy to load the bases with one out, but Michael Brantley then hit into a double play. In the bottom of the inning, Kluber allowed a Mike Moustakas double, and Raburn, after failing to catch the fly ball down the line, proceeded to spike his throw straight into the ground, allowing the Kansas City third baseman to come all the way home with the first run of the day. But facing Greg Holland in the ninth, Santana drew a leadoff walk, was bunted to second by Chris Dickerson and moved to third on a Nick Swisher groundout. Yan Gomes then singled to score him with the tying run. Lonnie Chisenhall added a hit to move the go-ahead run into scoring position, but Ramirez grounded out to strand both runners; Kluber then set the Royals down 1-2-3 to send the game to extra innings.

Francisley Bueno was perfect in the top of the tenth, while Bryan Shaw walked Infante, then removed him on a double play. Bueno allowed a walk to Dickerson in the eleventh, and was pulled for Jason Frasor with two outs; Dickerson then stole second before being left there. Shaw allowed a two-out Raul Ibanez double in the bottom of the eleventh, and Scott Atchison relieved and coaxed a groundout from Norichika Aoki.

Scott Downs countered a Chisenhall single with a Ramirez double play ball in the twelfth, while Atchison retired the Royals in order. In the thirteenth, Downs managed around a Santana walk, while Mark Rzepczynski was flawless. Aaron Crow struck out the side in the fourteenth (with two of the three outs requiring throws to first). Rzepczynski allowed a leadoff hit to Lorenzo Cain in the bottom of the inning and was then pulled for John Axford; Cain stole second, and one out later, Aoki singled him home to end the game.

Perfect games through four and six innings. The game's first run scoring in the eighth on a ridiculous play. A two-out, game-tying hit in the ninth. Fourteen innings total. And a winning team that leaves the game with the astonishingly tiny figure of two runners left on base.

That... would be a fun game to have attended.

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