Billy Butler had a grand slam, a two-run single and an RBI groundout to drive in a career-high seven runs as the Royals topped the Phillies 9-8 on Sunday.
Butler’s slam off Cole Hamels was originally ruled a double, but it was correctly overturned on replay.
The Royals won today despite going down 4-0 in the bottom of the first. James Shields gave up five singles in the inning, the first two of the infield variety. He rebounded from there to hold the Phillies scoreless over the next five innings.
Hamels, meanwhile, gave up eight runs in 5 2/3 innings to take his second straight loss. The 2012 17-game winner has opened this year 0-2 with a 10.97 ERA.
The Phillies almost made up a big deficit of their own by scoring four times in the bottom of the ninth before Kelvin Herrera finally struck out Erik Kratz to end the game.
With the Royals playing in an NL park, Butler only started today because the Phillies were throwing a left-hander. He played first base, while Eric Hosmer took a seat on the bench.
Butler became the first Royal to drive in seven runs since Jose Guillen did it on June 7, 2008. He had driven in as many as five runs just once previously, collecting six RBI against the Mariners as a rookie back in 2007.
Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman strugged in Sunday afternoon’s start against the Red Sox, yielding four runs (three earned) over five innings. He fell to 2-7 with a 5.86 ERA. The Jays dropped three of four games to the Sox in the series and now sit with a 43-52 record heading into the All-Star break.
Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun reports that while Stroman was initially cool, calm, and collected when speaking to the media after the game, he eventually snapped. Stroman was asked by a reporter about breaking into professional baseball with short-season Single-A Vancouver in 2012. Stroman yelled at the reporter, noting that his team had just lost to the Red Sox, and called his team “f– terrible.” Keegan Matheson’s account of the situation lines up with Buffery’s as well.
Prior to the outburst, Stroman had just praised his teammates, saying, “My team picks me up a ton. They pick me up all year. I should be able to pitch better in times like that when my team doesn’t have my back. Because they’ve had my back a ton of times. So, love my guys on my team and like I said, I would go to war with them any day.”
Stroman will have off until Friday, so hopefully the time off helps him clear his mind. It has understandably been a frustrating season in Toronto.