Some more to-and-fro in this one.
Derek Lowe got Freddy Sanchez to ground out to begin the top of the seventh inning, but was pulled in favor of Peter Moylan after loading the bases. Juan Uribe followed with a groundball to Alex Gonzalez, who pulled Omar Infante off the second base bag with the throw (though replays were inconclusive), forcing in the tying run. Gonzalez, one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, has two errors so far tonight.
Braves manager Bobby Cox then brought in left-hander Johnny Venters, who struck out Aaron Rowand for the second out, but allowed a single to Cody Ross to give the Giants a 3-2 lead. It could have been a lot worse for the Braves, as Brian McCann was able to hang on to the relay throw from Matt Diaz to snuff out Pat Burrell at home plate and end the inning.
Frankly, I was a little surprised to see Cody Ross facing Venters in that situation. Ross has earned a reputation as a lefty-killer in his career. Granted, McCann prevented an even bigger inning with a fantastic block of home plate, but Cox may regret using a left-hander there.
It’s currently 3-2 as the game moves to the top of the eighth inning.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.