The Royals did not hit the ball terribly hard in the top of the third inning against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, but they used their speed and place discipline to create a rally and score four runs. After starter Jason Vargas hit a fly ball to deep center field for the first out after a decent at-bat, Alcides Escobar singled to center field. Escobar was erased on a 3-6 fielder’s choice ground ball by Alex Gordon, but Gordon promptly stole second base — the Royals’ first stolen base of the World Series, oddly enough.
Lorenzo Cain hit a weak ground ball to shortstop and had just enough speed to beat out Brandon Crawford’s throw, though he pulled up after lunging at the first base bag. He stayed in the game. Gordon had advanced to third in the meantime. Eric Hosmer chopped a grounder to first baseman Brandon Belt, who threw to Vogelsong covering the bag, but it wasn’t in time. Vogelsong didn’t appear to have the best footwork covering the bag but it was a tough play.
Vogelsong then walked Mike Moustakas on four pitches to load the bases. Manager Bruce Bochy sent reliever Jean Machi to warm up. The meltdown continued. With a 2-2 count, Omar Infante grounded a single up the middle, plating two runs to give the Royals a 3-1 lead. Vogelsong fell behind Salvador Perez 3-0, pumped a get-me-over fastball for a strike, then surrendered a single to center field for yet another Royals run.
Bochy strolled out from the dugout to take the baseball from Vogelsong. Machi came in and walked Jarrod Dyson to load the bases again. Vargas worked a 3-2 count and tossed his bat as if he had drawn a bases-loaded walk. He got about 30 feet down the line before he was made aware of his error. Laughing off the embarrassing moment, Vargas then took strike three looking to end the inning.
Vogelsong finishes his night having allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings.
“We haven’t had many games like this,” Dodgers manager Dave Robert said after last night’s loss to the Yankees. That’s for sure.
There were no wild walkoff hits. There were no home runs by Dodger batters. There were two, including a grand slam, from Didi Gregorius, however, and he and New York batters pounded Hyun-Jin Ryu, perhaps the stingiest pitcher in baseball this year, for seven runs on nine hits in four and a third as the Yankees beat the Dodgers 10-2 in Dodger Stadium.
Aaron Judge, who has been slumping something terrible, opened up the scoring with a solo home run in the third. Two batters later Gary Sánchez matched him with a blast of his own. An A.J. Pollock RBI single in the bottom half of the inning made it a 2-1 game but after that the Yankees stepped on the gas with a five-run fifth highlighted by a Didi Gregorius grand slam. Gleber Torres would homer in the sixth, Judge would single home a run in the eighth and Gregorius would strike again in the ninth with a solo homer for his second blast of the night. That one gave the Yankees 57 bombs in the month of August, which sets a team record. There’s still a week left in August too.
As for the Dodgers, Ryu was uncharacteristically rusty, though it probably should be noted that this was his second poor outing in a row. struggled through his second straight sub-par outing. The last time out he lost to Atlanta. allowing all four Braves’ runs in 5 2/3 innings as the Dodgers fell 4-3. His ERA came in to this game at a still-MLB-best 1.64, but those seven runs in fewer than five — his shortest outing in nearly two months — puffed it up to an even 2.00.
The Yankees scored just nine runs in their three losses in Oakland. Last night they beat that by one. And they brought themselves to within one game of the Dodgers for the best record in all of baseball, which would determine home field in the World Series should these two powerhouses meet.
For now, though, Roberts is limiting the implications of all of this to Friday night, saying “fortunately, it only counts for one loss.” Yep. But man, it was an ugly one.