Royals bat around in the third inning, take a 4-1 lead against the Giants

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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.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.