Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Royals 13, Twins 0: Hard to envision any more of a domination than this. A four hit shutout for Jeremy Guthrie while the Royals offense puts up a baker’s dozen. Jamey Carroll was literally the most effective pitcher of the game for the Twins. Eric Hosmer drove in five.

Dodgers 3, Cardinals 2: Fifteen straight road wins for the Dodgers. That’s … improbable. Two more road wins in a row and they tie a 97 year-old NL record owned by the Giants. The 83-84 Tigers own the all-time record with 21.

Tigers 4, Indians 2: The Indians can be as hot as they want to when they play everyone else but this inability to beat the Tigers is kind of a drag for them. Detroit scored all four of their runs in the ninth thanks to Chris Perez totally melting down. The rally was capped by an Alex Avila with a three-run homer.

Braves 3, Nationals 2: That’s 11 straight for the streaking Braves, who extend their lead to 13.5 games in the NL East. Justin Upton homered. This race is run.

White Sox 8, Yankees 1: All the fuss was about A-Rod, but the real story here may be another old guy: Andy Pettitte was absolutely awful, letting baserunner after baserunner reach while allowing seven runs in two and two-thirds. We may have reached the end of the Pettitte road, folks. Four driven in for Alex Rios

Giants 4, Brewers 2: Three hits for Brandon Belt and a broken bat RBI single for Jeff Francoeur to put the Giants ahead to stay. After the game he talked about adjusting his stance and returning to some toe-tapping timing thing he used in Atlanta but got away from in Kansas City. I’m sure that means he’s all fixed now and will return to 2005 form.

Astros 2, Red Sox 0: You can’t stop Brett Oberholtzer, you can only hope to contain him (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER).

Rangers 5, Angels 2: Adrian Beltre homered, Martin Perez pitched effectively and the Rangers won their seventh in eight. Nelson who?

Blue Jays 3, Mariners 1: A three-run rally in the eighth helps R.A. Dickey to his first win in a month. Big crowd on hand as a ton of British Columbians came down to see Brett Lawrie play. Canadian hordes, really, in all likelihood doing recon for an impending invasion.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar
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Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.