Royals leave AL feeling anything but blue after MLB All-Star game
Six Kansas City Royals played in the Major League Baseball All-Star game in Cincinnati on Tuesday night and, contrary to popular belief, the sport of baseball didn’t spontaneously combust.
That may be going a little far in summing up the backlash that the record-setting number of seven KC All-Stars (Alex Gordon didn’t play due to a groin injury)) voted into the game drew, but there were some aggrieved parties, to be sure.
Well, for all that fretting and the ballot scrutiny from the MLB itself, things turned out pretty well for the American League as it won the midsummer classic (and home field advantage in the World Series along with it) for the third year in a row, taking a 6-3 victory over the National League.
Royals’ players certainly had an influence on that outcome as well. I mean, you don’t make it to the World Series on the back of sheer luck. So, while there may have been some early controversies (I’m looking directly at your votes, Omar Infante and Alex Rios), Kansas City’s players clearly proved they belong.
It helps when arguably the best player in baseball, Angels outfielder Mike Trout (and the only non-Royal starter following initial votes), starts off the game with a leadoff home run. While Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta tied things up with an RBI single in the second inning, it wasn’t long before the AL was back in front for good.
Leading off the top of the fifth inning, Kansas City’s Alcides Escobar singled off Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw and while he was recorded out in a fielder’s choice on the next play, the wheels were set in motion.
Trout reached safely on that fielder’s choice and his teammate, Albert Pujols, then drew a two-out walk. Ranger Prince Fielder then stepped up to the plate and delivered a two-RBI single and Royal Lorenzo Cain followed that up with an RBI double that capped an AL outburst that was more than enough to lock up a victory.
The teams then traded runs in the sixth and seventh innings as Pittsburgh Pirate Andrew McCutchen delivered a solo blast for the National League and Fielder then came through again with a sacrifice fly to help the AL maintain its three-run lead.
Minnesota Twin Brian Dozier added the AL’s final run with a one-run homer in the eighth and while Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun led off the ninth with a triple for the National League, he would be the only runner to cross the plate as the home team could not mount a final rally in the 6-3 loss.
For all the doomsday preparations made in the weeks leading up to the All-Star game, it turned into a pretty entertaining contest.
While the NL took the loss, some of its pitchers shined the brightest, like New York Mets hurler Jacob deGrom striking out the side in the sixth or Cincinnati’s own Aroldis Chapman doing the same with (almost exclusively) 100-mph heat in the ninth.
The AL was led by its power hitters, including back-to-back All-Star MVP (a first) Trout, but the Royals proved they had their place as well, with Escobar and Cain both recording hits in the game and Wade Davis doing what he normally does for the Royals for the AL squad in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s All-Star game. Davis tied with Detroit’s David Price by recording a game-high two strikeouts for the American League.
Kelvin Herrera may not have gotten his chance in a loaded bullpen and Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas went hitless, but Perez was the first Royal to earn back-to-back All-Star starts since George Brett and, well, Moustakas had to deal with Chapman in his lone at-bat.
With managers from the previous season’s World Series teams selected to lead their respective squads in the All-Star game, and the AL dugout full of Royals coaches on Tuesday, it’s hard not to reminisce on postseasons past when the midsummer classic is held.
A strong showing in 2014 certainly helped push Kansas City to the forefront of this season’s All-Star game and given how the Royals performed on one of baseball’s biggest stages, it doesn’t look like the team intends to slow down any time soon.