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Friday, August 31, 2012

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-31-2012

Milwaukee Journal, August 31, 1912:

James R. McAleer, president of the Red Sox, has offered $50,000 cash for Walter Johnson, the Senators’ wonderful pitcher. It is the highest price ever offered for a baseball player—about twice the Marty O’Toole figure.

McAleer [said], “I’ll give you $50,000 for Johnson and you turn him over to me tomorrow. Here’s $1,000 right now to bind the agreement.”

“Are you kidding me?” was the reply of the Senators’ manager.

“No, I’m not kidding,” replied McAleer. “Here’s the thousand on the table.”

Griffith refused to consider the offer.

Uh, Jimmy, I’m pretty sure the “Are you kidding me?” was more “You’ve gotta be joking, I’d never sell the best pitcher on the planet” than it was “Of course! $50,000 sounds great!”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 05:39 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history, walter johnson

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 05:41 AM (#4223293)
Also 100 years ago today, the Pittsburgh Gazette Times reports on the Browns' Earl Hamilton throwing a no-hitter, and there's more Tubby Spencer news!

From the Milwaukee Journal:
Ed (Tubby) Spencer, once a big league baseball player, floated past Judge Collins, was tagged with $1 and costs and drifted on with the current Tuesday. It was "the works" at last for Tubby.

"I don't know whether my friend Jerry needs a ball player at the workhouse or not," said the judge, "but you are on your way."

[After being ordered to leave Louisville or be sentenced to jail time,] Tubby tried Indianapolis and found some of the same brand of "booze" and some old friends here. In police court he had not a word to say, and not a friend left.
I've mentioned this in previous Tubby posts, but it still baffles me that he kept finding work in pro baseball. Spencer hit .194 and slugged .245 as a high-maintenance 28-year-old raging alcoholic backup catcher in the American Association in 1912, so the San Francisco Seals brought him in for the 1913 season. He hit .127 and slugged .141 as a PCL backup in 1913. Somehow he spent 1916-1918 back in the majors and played minor league ball until he was 41.
   2. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 05:48 AM (#4223295)
Today's Birthday team has a 1970s-1980s Cleveland feel to it. Perconte, Hayes, Robinson, and Candiotti all played for the Indians of my childhood, and Claudell Washington (as a Yankee) drilled my aunt in the knee with a foul ball at Cleveland Stadium circa 1988.

C: Duke Farrell
1B: Jack Burns
2B: Jack Perconte
3B: Ray Dandridge
SS: Monte Cross
LF: Claudell Washington
CF: Von Hayes
RF/Manager: Frank Robinson

SP: Eddie Plank
SP: Tom Candiotti
SP: Hideo Nomo
SP: Red Ehret
SP: Buster Brown
RP: Ramon Hernandez

General Manager: Leslie O'Connor
Bench Bat: Danny Litwhiler
Fun Name: Boots Day
Gopher Ball Giver Upper: Tracy Stallard
Less-Talented Relatives of Star Players: Tim Raines Jr., Tim Drew, Tommy John III
   3. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: August 31, 2012 at 05:52 AM (#4223296)
Claudell Washington (as a Yankee) drilled my aunt

Alright Claudell!
   4. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 31, 2012 at 07:10 AM (#4223304)
As FRobbie was my first baseball hero, I was always jealous that he shared a birthday with my Dad instead of mine 3 days earlier.
   5. Dag Nabbit at Posted: August 31, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4223381)
   6. bunyon Posted: August 31, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4223400)
a birthday with my Dad instead of mine 3 days earlier.

Trouble with time machines in your family?

The Nats looked amazing last night. I think Werth scored 40 runs or so.
   7. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4223433)
a birthday with my Dad instead of mine 3 days earlier.
Trouble with time machines in your family?

Just another in a string of poorly constructed sentences this week for me. :) It's good that I have 2 weeks vacation starting this afternoon.
   8. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 31, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4223621)
With 80 wins in 2012 (best record in baseball), the Reds are the second team to eclipse their 2011 win total. The Orioles already have 3 more wins (72) than they had last year. Nationals, Pirates, Mariners and A's are about to do so.

The Brewers (by 2 games) and Phillies (by 9 games ... wow) have already eclipsed their 2011 loss total. The Dbacks and Red Sox are about to do so.
   9. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 31, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4223750)
With 70 wins, the Pirates have exceeded their win totals in 11 of the last 19 seasons (with help from a couple of shortened seasons), and have won more games than in any season 2005-2010.
   10. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 31, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4223776)
The Astros have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs before September ( lists their "elimination number" as 1, but the Cardinals and Dodgers play each other 3 more times and if either of them win twice, they'll have more wins than the Astros currently do). How many 56-106 teams have gotten worse the next season?

Also, former Mariner Jose Lopez was recently recalled by the Chicago White Sox, reminding me of this classic BBTF thread.
   11. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 31, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4224066)
Sometimes, the Game of the Day choice is surprising. And sometimes, it's...

Game of the day (yesterday): Cubs 12, Brewers 11. Milwaukee threatened in the first against Brooks Raley. Norichika Aoki singled, and then was caught stealing; Rickie Weeks followed with a single of his own, and Ryan Braun doubled, putting two runners in scoring position. Raley rallied to retire Corey Hart and Jonathan Lucroy to end the inning, and the Cubs picked up a pair of runs in the home half on a David DeJesus walk, a Starlin Castro triple, and an Anthony Rizzo double. Another Chicago run came around in the second when Brett Jackson walked and Raley and DeJesus both singled, extending the lead to three.

Of course, Brooks Raley was still pitching. After Aoki grounded out to open the third, Weeks and Braun both singles, and Hart drew a walk to load the bases. Lucroy then launched a grand slam to left, turning the three-run deficit into a lead that grew by another run when Carlos Gomez singled, stole second, and scored on Cody Ransom's hit. Milwaukee tacked on two more in the fourth when Weeks singled and Braun homered, and after Raley was replaced by Michael Bowden, picked up another pair in the sixth on a Weeks double, a Braun walk and steal of second, and a two-run single by Lucroy.

That made it a 9-3 game. Despite the fact that Brewer starter Shaun Marcum had been lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth, which is at least slightly odd, sureley even the highly flammable Milwaukee bullpen could hold that lead, right?

Never underestimate the powers of the highly flammable Milwaukee bullpen. Facing Livan Hernandez, Brett Jackson led off the sixth with a double. One out later, Josh Vitters walked, DeJesus doubled in one run, a passed ball by Lucroy brought in a second, and a Luis Valbuena single plated a third. Castro walked, and Hernandez was replaced on the mound by Manny Parra. Rizzo grounded out, advancing the runners to second and third, and pinch hitter Alfonso Soriano was intentionally passed to load the bases. Parra then walked Wellington Castillo to force in a run, and allowed Jackson's second double of the inning to bring in two more... and tie the game. Jose Veras entered and induced Darwin Barney's second out of the inning. (I wonder if anyone has ever made all three outs in an inning - not counting double plays and stuff, batter making one out in three separate plate appearances. Seems likely to have happened at some point, but if not, Barney tied a major league record!)

If you were building a momentum-based storyline in this game, you'd figure the Brewer hitters, devastated by the collapse of their pitching staff, would go quietly in the seventh. I don't know if momentum-based storylines are just poorly thought-out in general (probably) or if the Milwaukee offense has simply become accustomed to bullpen terribility over the last five months, but either way, Ransom led off the seventh with a home run against Blake Parker, putting the Brewers right back in front. The Cubs put the tying run in scoring position when Valbuena doubled in the bottom of the inning, but couldn't bring him home, and Milwaukee added another run in the eighth when Weeks doubled and Hart and Lucroy both singled. Chicago once again left the tying runs on in the eighth, this time after a pair of walks, leaving the ninth as their last shot.

Francisco Rodriguez lived up to his nickname and struck out Joe Mather to open the inning. Things went less well after that: DeJesus doubled and Valbuena walked, putting the tying runs on yet again. And this time, Castro singled to bring in one, Rizzo doubled to even the score, and Soriano singled to win the game.

When the season of the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers is undergoing its postmortem, this game should be the epitaph. Excellent offense, horrid bullpen, all adding up to something very exciting for people who aren't fans of the team (the Brewers are still hanging onto the top spot in the seasonal excitement rankings), and rather miserable for those that are.
   12. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 31, 2012 at 07:25 PM (#4224106)
Game of the day (last year): Orioles 6, Blue Jays 5 (10). Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie set the Jays down in order in the first, and Toronto's Brett Cecil did the same to the O's. In the second, Guthrie retired the first hitter he faced, then walked both Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson. You know how they say walks come back to haunt you? They're talking about situations like this, because Brett Lawrie cranked a 3-run homer to open the scoring.

Vladimir Guerrero led off the bottom of the second with a single, and Matt Wieters followed with a two-run homer to reduce Baltimore's deficit to one. Mark Reynolds and Robert Andino then singled and walked, respectively, before Cecil recovered to end the inning without further damage. Guthrie put two Jays on in both the third (Yunel Escobar and Jose Bautista singles) and fourth (hit Lawrie with a pitch, JP Arencibia single), but stranded all of the runners, which meant that Andino's double and Nolan Reimold's RBI single in the bottom of the fourth produced the tying run. Guthrie worked into and out of even more trouble in the fifth, as Eric Thames doubled, Bautista reached on a dropped popup (with Thames staying at second), and Adam Lind singled to load the bases with nobody out. But Encarnacion hit into a 1-2-3 double play, Johnson flied out to end the threat, and Baltimore struck again in the bottom of the inning when Jones walked and Guerrero doubled him home (Vlad was thrown out at third on the play, making it the unusual sequence that starts with a runner on first and one out, and ends with a run having scored, another out being made, and nobody on base - the equivalent of a three-base sac fly.)

With the Orioles having taken their first lead of the game, both starters managed a scoreless sixth before being removed. Jim Johnson worked around a Thames double in the seventh, and Joel Carreno allowed a double of his own to JJ Hardy and a walk to Nick Markakis before escaping, courtesy of a Jones double play ball. Johnson stayed in for a spotless eighth; Shawn Camp came to the mound after that, and was rather spottier. Wieters started the inning with a single, and Reynolds walked. Andino bunted into a force at third, but Reimold walked to load the bases with one away. Ryan Adams then popped up, and Hardy hit into a force at third to end the inning, leaving closer Kevin Gregg a smaller lead than he might otherwise have enjoyed to start the ninth.

Gregg quickly made it clear that insurance runs would have been quite helpful. Arencibia led off the inning with a single, and was lifted for pinch runner Dewayne Wise. Mike McCoy then walked, and he and Wise combined on a double steal that allowed Escobar's flyout to bring the tying run home from third. Thames flied out as well, this one not deep enough to score the potential go-ahead run; Bautista was intentionally walked, and Lind drew an unintentional pass to load the bases before Encarnacion hit into an inning-ending force. Casy Janssen worked around a walk in a 13-pitch ninth, sending the game to extras.

The tenth did not start famously well for new Baltimore pitcher Willie Eyre, as Kelly Johnson led off the inning with a triple. Lawrie popped out, but Jose Molina worked a 3-1 count, and then ball four went wild, escaping from Wieters and allowing Johnson to race home with the go-ahead run. McCoy then made two quick outs, hitting into a force and getting caught stealing second, but the damage appeared to be done.

Whatever damage there was, it quickly proved reparable. Brian Tallett walked Wieters and Reynolds to start the bottom of the tenth. Andino bunted foul with two strikes (not a good day bunting for him). But Jake Fox singled in one run, and Adams singled as well, bringing in a second to win the game.

Ten innings. 21 men left on base. 27 at bats with runners in scoring position, nearly all of them with the game within a run one way or the other. One game-tying rally in the ninth, and one come-from behind win in extras. That is one excellent exhibition of baseball. In fact, the system puts it at #27 on the year, and it tops the list of 2011's games of 10 or fewer innings so far.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: August 31, 2012 at 07:26 PM (#4224107)
Josh Vitters walked

The end is nigh!!

Meanwhile, Brett Jackson's absurd line:

88 PA, 216/341/473 with 37 Ks

   14. Cuban X Senators Posted: September 01, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4224564)
Wondering which books on pre-Dodger/Giants Pacific Coast League are good/best. Anyone have any advice for starting points?
   15. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 01, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4224669)
Game of the day (yesterday): Phillies 8, Braves 5 (10). Atlanta picked up a pair of singles against Roy Halladay in the first, but the scoring didn't open until Ryan Howard led off the top of the second by taking Mike Minor deep. The Phils put two more runners on in the inning, and the Braves did the same in the bottom half, then drew a pair of walks in the fourth, but the 1-0 margin remained intact until the fifth.

Minor led off the fifth with a single, and was rewarded one out later with an easy jog around the bases in front of Martin Prado's go-ahead homer. After the second out, Chipper Jones drew a walk, and Freddie Freeman followed with Atlanta's second two-run homer of the inning. Jeremy Horst replaced Halladay on the mound and ended the inning.

Having helped himself take his first lead of the day, Minor proceeded to squander it as fast as humanly possible. Jimmy Rollins, Kevin Frandsen, and Chase Utley all singled to load the bases with nobody out, and Howard singled as well, driving in a pair of runs. Chad Durbin replaced Minor, and allowed a sac fly to Ty Wigginton, tying the game. The Phils proceeded to put runners on the corners by the end of the inning, but left them there, and Dan Uggla gave the lead back to the Braves with a leadoff homer in the sixth.

The bullpens settled in to start the seventh. Jonny Venters allowed a single but nothing else, as did teammate Eric O'Flaherty in the eighth. Antonio Bastardo worked a spotless seventh for the Phils; Philippe Aumont did not do the same in the eighth. Paul Janish doubled with one out, and Michael Bourn reached on an error with two, then took second on a wild pitch before Prado lined out to leave a pair of insurance runs in scoring position. So naturally, with the Braves having missed a chance to expand their lead, Craig Kimbrel allowed a game-tying solo homer to Eric Kratz to lead off the ninth. He recovered quickly, retiring the next three Phils, but Josh Lindblom cut through the Braves quickly in the bottom of the inning to send the affair to a spare inning.

Facing Cristhian Martinez, Frandsen led off the tenth with a single, and advanced to second on a balk. Utley grounded out, moving him to third. Martinez intentionally walked Howard, then struck out Juan Pierre. John Mayberry Jr. was up next, and hammered a go-ahead three-run homer to left. Jonathan Papelbon shut down the Braves in the tenth to end the game.

You don't see Roy Halladay get badly outpitched too often, but he pulled it off today - at least, in comparison to his own bullpen:
Halladay 4.2 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 4 R
Bullpen 5.1 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 1 R

The Atlanta 'pen was having a similar outing before the tenth inning came along and ruined it.

Seasonally speaking, this game in combination with uninspiring outings from the Brewers and Nats move the Phillies into second place on the year for overall excitement, just a hair behind Milwaukee and solidly ahead of now-fifth-place Washington (the White Sox and Royals have also passed the Nats).
   16. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4224693)
Game of the day (last year): Indians 4, A's 3. After Cleveland got a scoreless first from Ubaldo Jimenez, they also picked up a run in the first against Rich Harden. Ezequiel Carrera led off with a triple, and promptly came home on Kosuke Fukudome's sac fly. The A's tied it in the second, as Scott Sizemore forced in the perfect Moneyball run - the bases-loaded walk. Jack Hannahan put the Indians ahead once more with a leadoff homer in the second, but Cliff Pennington led off the third with a double, stole third, and scored on Brandon Allen's two-out single to retie the score. And in the fourth, Kurt Suzuki homered against Jimenez to put Oakland in front for the first time in the game.

Harden was perfect in the fourth, then allowed a two-out hit and walk in the fifth, but held the lead. That changed in the sixth, however, as Hannahan hit his second homer of the game, evening the tally at three apiece. (In case you're wondering, no, this is not the only multi-homer game of Hannahan's career - in fact, he's had four of them, which seems like an unreasonably high number for someone with 28 career homers. Any way to tell if it's some kind of record - fewest homers for someone with 4 multi-HR games, or most multi-HR games for someone with less than 30 homers, or something like that.)

The bullpens took over the game after the sixth, as the starters left with nearly identical pitching lines (6 IP, 6 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K; Harden allowed 2 homers to Jimenez's 1). Tony Sipp worked scoreless innings for Cleveland in the seventh and eighth; Craig Breslow allowed a leadoff hit in the seventh and allowed the runner to reach third, but not score. Grant Balfour was spotless in the eighth. Chris Perez allowed a two-out single-and-steal to Jemile Weeks in the ninth, while Fautino de los Santos set Cleveland's hitters down in order.

Did I say the game was Indians 4, A's 3? I meant Indians 4, A's 3 (16). My bad.

Joe Smith put a pair of Oaklanders on in the tenth on a single by Hideki Matsui, a steal by pinch runner Coco Crisp, and a walk to Josh Willingham, but came back with a strikeout and a double play to end the inning. Jerry Blevins was perfect in the tenth and eleventh for the A's, while Chad Durbin allowed a single and sacrifice but nothing further in the eleventh. Durbin stayed in for the twelfth and allowed a hit to Pennington; after Crisp hit into a forceout, Willingham doubled to left, moving Crisp to third. Brandon Allen was intentionally walked, and Durbin ended the inning on a strikeout and a popup.

Sadly, not every inning can feature a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity. In fact, the next six half-innings featured a combined total of no opportunities (outside of the ever-present threat of the walkoff homer, of course). Oakland's Neil Wagner threw one perfect inning, followed by two of them from Andrew Bailey that got the A's through the fourteenth. Cleveland's Frank Herrmann, meanwhile, set nine consecutive hitters down in innings 13-15. In a fit of nomenclatural irony, the string of consecutive outs ended with the first batter faced by Josh Outman, who allowed a leadoff double to Jason Donald in the Indian fifteenth. Donald took third on a flyout, and stayed there on a strikeout. Carrera drew a walk and took second on defensive indifference, and both runners watched while Fukudome whiffed to leave them on base. Herrmann worked yet another perfect inning in the sixteenth, bringing Outman back to the mound; after a leadoff strikeout, Outman allowed a single to Jim Thome, who was lifted for pinch runner Cord Phelps. Carlos Santana followed with another hit, moving Phelps to second and bringing up... Hannahan, of course. Hannahan singled to right, bringing Phelps around with the winning run and capping a day that has to go on the very short list of the best games in Hannahan's career.

It may only be arguably Hannahan's best game, but it's unquestionably Herrmann's. When you set a career high in innings, don't allow a single baserunner, and do so in a game that's tied throughout your stint on the mound, that's generally a good combination. The two players whose last names start with H, end with N, and have six letters in between combined to give Cleveland the win in the fifteenth-best game of 2011 so far.
   17. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 02, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4225144)
Game of the day (yesterday): Cardinals 10, Nationals 9. Not necessarily the score you expect in a Jordan Zimmermann-Kyle Lohse matchup these days.

Zimmermann gave up two hits in the first, but no runs. In the bottom of the inning, Bryce Harper started things off with a one-out double. After the second out, Adam LaRoche drove in the game's first run with a single, and Mike Morse singled as well. Ian Desmond then hit a fly to left that turned into a two-run, two-base error. Danny Espinosa also reached on an error, allowing Kurt Suzuki to bat and single in the fourth run of the inning. Zimmermann finally struck out to end the inning with the Nats having batted around and taken a large lead.

The lead shrank quickly in the top of the second, as Yadier Molina singled and David Freese followed with a two-run homer. Ryan Zimmerman and LaRoche matched them in the bottom of the inning, restoring the advantage to four runs, but Jon Jay and Matt Holliday picked up a single-and-homer of their own in the third, cutting it to two once more. After Lohse worked a perfect third, Freese led off the fourth with a double. One out later, Zimmermann hit Daniel Descalso with a pitch, and afte Lohse popped up a bunt, Jay was plunked as well, loading the bases. Matt Carpenter promptly unloaded them with a go-ahead, three-run double. Holliday drew a walk, driving Zimmermann from the game, and Allen Craig greeted Craig Stammen with an RBI single.

Lohse and Stammen exchanged stellar innings through the top of the sixth, a string that ended abruptly when Danny Espinosa led off the bottom of the inning with a home run. Two outs later, Jayson Werth doubled, putting the tying run on base and inducing Mike Matheny to replace Lohse with Marc Rzepczynski. Harper then walked, bringing Fernando Salas to the mound and Zimmerman to the plate, and on a 1-2 count, Zimmerman singled to right. This is when things went rather insane. Werth rounded third, and Craig threw home; Werth scored easily enough that Molina was able to step into the infield to cut the throw off a bit early and throw to second to try and get Zimmerman, who was attempting to advance on the throw. Harper, seeing the throw to second, headed for home, which was partially uncovered. Skip Schumaker threw home from second; the ball tipped off of Molina's glove and right into Salas's, standing just to the side of the plate. Harper slid in safely under the tag, putting the Nats in front.

Ryan Mattheus and Edward Mujica worked scoreless seventh innings. Shane Robinson led off the top of the eighth with a walk against Sean Burnett; Descalso bunted him to second, and Carlos Beltran came on as a pinch hitter and singled Robinson home to tie the game. Jay singled as well, but Carpenter grounded out, and Drew Storen came on to fan Holliday and end the inning. Mitchell Boggs worked a perfect eighth, and the Cards went back to work against Storen in the ninth. Craig led off with a single, and stole second with one out. Freese then singled him home, putting St. Louis in front, and Jason Motte set the Nats down in order to end the game.

This is a back-and-forth, 10-9 game between two teams that could easily play again in October. Do I really need to come up with some kind of insightful observation to make it seem awesome?
   18. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 02, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4225235)
Game of the day (last year): Royals 11, Tigers 8. The pitching matchup is Danny Duffy and Jacob Turner, both of whom... might be good someday.

Turner worked a perfect top of the first, while Duffy allowed a Magglio Ordonez double but worked around it. That means that Eric Hosmer's single and Jeff Francoeur's subsequent homer in the top of the second opened the scoring. Duffy and Turner traded perfect frames, and then the Tigers struck back and then some. Ryan Raburn walked to start the inning; two outs later, Ordonez hit his second double of the game to bring Raburn home. Delmon Young also doubled, scoring Ordonez and tying the game, and Miguel Cabrera singled to knock in the go-ahead run.

Hosmer singled and stole second in the fourth, but didn't score; Brandon Inge walked and was caught stealing in the bottom of the inning, so he obviously didn't score either. Johnny Giovatella led off the fifth with a double, and scored one out later on Alcides Escobar's single to tie the game. Escobar stole second, took third on Alex Gordon's single, and came home on Melky Cabrera's hit to put the Royals back ahead. Turner was then pulled in favor of Ryan Perry; Billy Butler worked Perry for eight pitches before smacking a two-run double to extend the lead to 6-3.

In the bottom of the fifth, Austin Jackson singled, and Ordonez picked up his third consecutive extra-base hit, this one a 2-run homer to reduce Detroit's deficit to a single run. Duffy was removed in favor of Aaron Crow in the sixth; it did not help. Alex Avila led off with a double, and Johnny Peralta singled in the tying run. Ramon Santiago bunted Peralta to third, Wilson Betemit struck out, and Jackson broke the tie with a two-run homer.

With Perry still on the mound, Melky Cabrera led off the seventh with a double. Butler flied out, and Phil Coke replaced Perry. Coke walked Hosmer, and gave up an RBI double to Francoeur and an RBI single to Mike Moustakas, tying the game. That brought Luis Marte to the mound, and his second pitch was hit for a go-ahead two-run single by Giovatella, putting KC up 10-8. The Royals would go on to load the bases, but didn't score any further in the inning.

Not that they necessarily needed to. One-out singles by Victor Martinez and Avila put Tigers on the corners in the seventh, but Louis Coleman struck out the next two hitters to leave them there. Hosmer homered against David Pauley in the eighth to extend the lead, and Greg Holland and Joakim Soria slammed the door on Detroit, retiring six men in a row to end the game.

This is about as good a game as you can have when the lead doesn't change hands in the last two innings. And of course, it's the Royals who played it, once again establishing their claim as the team most likely to play an interesting game over the last two years. Their lead isn't insurmountable yet, but it's getting close - and it's mostly because no lead for either team was insurmountable in the games they played.

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