In the unbalanced world of Major League Baseball, teams out of division don’t meet up very often. The Royals and Athletics just played a three-game set in Oakland that marks Kansas City’s one and only trip to the 94621 this year. We hope you got something out of it, because it was a quirky little series.
That crafty Tommy Milone played dodgeball against the Royals on Monday, posting eight bagels despite the fact that he didn’t strike anyone out. Kansas City got even Tuesday, with Danny Duffy and Aaron Crow dominating in a rain-shortened game.
The clubs saved the best for last, giving us 12 innings of baseball fun Wednesday afternoon.
You had Jeff Francoeur buying pizza for his new friends in the Oakland outfield. Yoenis Cespedes stole his first base. Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Jonny Gomes knocked balls into the seats (Gomes also swiped a bag; be good, Jonny). And with no one scoring in the eighth, ninth, tenth or eleventh inning, you had a tense, exciting baseball game.
This rubber match should have gone down as the Francoeur Pizza Game, but Jonathan Broxton wound up stealing the show in the bottom of the 12th inning. You’ll always remember where you were when you saw Broxton’s meltdown for the ages.
The Royals plated a run in the top of the 12th — Butler’s double scored Eric Hosmer — and then handed the ball to Broxton, the nominal closer. Big John headed to the mound and wound up throwing 24 wildly and crazy pitches. Three outs and a handshake? Forget about that. For 15 minutes on the mound, Broxton turned into Eric Plunk.
Clip and save this play-by-play log for the ages:
Seven Oakland batters came to the plate. No one hit the ball out of the infield. Broxton was unlucky to some extent — Alcides Escobar’s error forced him to get one extra out — but it’s hard to defend any closer who walks two batters and then hits two more over a crazy five-batter sequence. Only 10 of Broxton’s 24 pitches were strikes. The ending to this baseball game was straight from the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror.
Broxton’s meltdown came on the heels of a dominant outing Sunday at Los Angeles, a perfect three-strikeout handshake. He was rocky in his only other appearance this year, allowing two hits and a run in a get-work appearance on Saturday. It’s too early for the Royals to have a forced shift in the bullpen, but all blown saves are not created equal.
If you fritter a game away because of wildness or the gopher ball, you basically do a Hong Kong Phooey chop to the collective stomach of your organization. If Broxton doesn’t fix this problem soon, Ned Yost won’t have much of a choice.