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 Yankees probably have the best minor league system in baseball right now and the best player in that system is, without question, shortstop Gleyber Torres. Now that top prospect is a step closet to the Bronx: he has been promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yankees don’t rush their prospects anywhere nearly as fast as a lot of teams do, but Torres, who is only 20, proved himself to be ready for the promotion. In 32 games at Double-A Trenton this year he hit .273/.367/.496 in 139 plate appearances. That OPS is almost 100 points higher than that which he posted in high A-ball in 2016.
Torres came over to the Yankees from the Cubs organization in the Aroldis Chapman trade last summer. At this rate he’ll be playing shortstop behind Chapman in New York before too long.
Dodgers outfielder Brett Eibner came into yesterday’s game against the Marlins as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning. He hit a single scoring Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernandez and then advanced to second on the throw home. Overall on the year he’s 5-for-16 with a walk, two homers and six driven in eight games. Admirable work for a guy whose job is to be a bench bat and outfield depth.
As Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports, however, he could possible provide some bullpen depth too:
Eibner has thrown several bullpen sessions at Dodger Stadium and at Oklahoma City, working on building arm strength and developing secondary pitches to accompany a fastball he said hit 95 mph in college.
The idea, still in its theoretical stages, would be for Eibner to remain, primarily, a backup outfielder, but to possibly serve as an extra arm during periods when the Dodgers pen gets worked hard. Something less than an everyday reliever but something more than the gimmick of using a position player to save the real pitchers in a blowout.
In an age when teams have cut their position player depth down to the bone in the service of adding more relief pitchers, finding a guy who can do both could provide a nice little boost, no?