Batting third in just his fifth major league game, Eric Hosmer played the hero for the Royals on Wednesday, hitting his first major league homer and delivering a sac fly in the top of the 11th as part of a 4-3 win over the Yankees.
Hosmer’s fourth-inning homer gave the Royals their only run in seven innings against A.J. Burnett. They tied it up 2-2 in the eighth on a Wilson Betemit RBI single off David Robertson, and took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 10th when Jeff Francoeur doubled in Hosmer, who had reached on a walk.
The Royals, though, failed to hold the lead from there. Joakim Soria, not at all the dominating presence he’s been in the past, blew his second save after leaving a curve up to Curtis Granderson. The result was a game-tying RBI single.
But the Royals didn’t just roll over and die, as would have been their habit in years past. Soria got out of the inning, and a walk, a sac bunt, a single and Hosmer’s sac fly put Kansas City back ahead in the 11th.
Called in to pitch the bottom of the 11th was sidearmer Louis Coleman in his seventh big-league appearance. He got a flyout from Alex Rodriguez for the first out and then struck out Eduardo Nunez (who was filling in for the injured Robinson Cano) and Nick Swisher to end the game for his first career save.
Hosmer, who had his best night to date, is 4-for-16 with three RBI and five walks since his callup. His homer tonight was the lone hit surrendered by Burnett, who just hasn’t been getting the typical Yankee starter run support of late.
Soria’s run was the only one allowed in seven innings by the Royals pen. The Yankees had chances to take control of the game early off Vin Mazzaro, who was taking the injured Bruce Chen’s start, but he managed to hold the Bombers to two runs despite allowing six hits and walking four.
The Royals are a game and a half out of the crazy AL Wild Card race — six games back of the Indians in the division — so they don’t have a huge margin for error. They got some bad news last night, though, that could have a major impact on their playoff hopes: closer Kelvin Herrera experienced tightness in his right forearm in the ninth inning of last night’s win, forcing him out of the game.
Herrera walked the bases loaded, then went to a 2-0 count on the next batter before leaving the game. That last pitch was a fastball that clocked in at 91 m.p.h., which is NOT a typical Kelvin Herrera fastball. Herrera didn’t talk after the game but his teammate Sal Perez said that Herrera told him “I’m tight. I don’t feel my forearm.”
Reporters left the clubhouse before an official diagnosis or prognosis could be delivered, so expect an update some time today. If Herrera is out the closer duties could fall to Scott Alexander or Brandon Maurer.
Albert Pujols had a big night last night, driving in four runs as the Angels beat the Rangers 10-1. Three of those runs came on a three-run homer. That was the 610th home run of Pujols’ career, snapping a tie for eighth on the all-time list with Sammy Sosa. It also made him baseball’s all-time leader for home runs by a player born outside the U.S.
Pujols was aware of the accomplishment, of course, and noted how honored he was after the game:
”It’s pretty special. Obviously, all the great players from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, they’ve gone through the big leagues and to be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling.”
After Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic, comes Rafael Palmeiro (569); Manny Ramirez (555); David Ortiz (541); Carlos Delgado (473); Jose Canseco (462); Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera (459).