Xavier Avery laid down a bunt in the third inning. It didn’t lead to a run, but I’m writing about it anyway.
Robert Andino led off the top of the third inning with a single, and Avery advanced him to second base with his first major league sacrifice bunt. Yes, we also can cross that one off the list.
Royals starter Felipe Paulino fielded the ball, spun and bounced his throw to second - probably because he was trying to throw a 100 mph fastball. Andino slid in safely and Avery reached first base.
J.J. Hardy grounded into a double play, but I noticed how Avery came in with a hard slide on Royals second baseman Chris Getz.
I’m not proclaiming that Avery will be a perennial All Star or that he’s ready to play every day in the majors, but he brings speed and hustle to the lineup. And he can bunt.
That may sound like a minor point, but I’m tired of watching major leaguers treat a bunt as if they’re trying to separate twins. It shouldn’t be that hard.
Hardy is 0-for-2 with a walk and has stranded four runners.
Tommy Hunter has allowed three hits through four scoreless innings. Paulino has allowed four hits through five scoreless innings.
This qualifies as a pitchers duel.
Manager Buck Showalter wasn’t feeling well when he showed up at the ballpark earlier today. He left the complex, was checked out and returned shortly before the first pitch.
Down on the farm, Chris Tillman went 5 1/3 innings tonight for Triple-A Norfolk, allowing three runs and eight hits, walking three and striking out four. He threw 95 pitches, including 60 for strikes.
Update: Royals No. 9 hitter Humberto Quintero delivered a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the fifth to break the scoreless tie.
Update II: The Royals just added a huge insurance run in the eighth on Alex Gordon’s two-out double off Troy Patton.
The Orioles had cut the Royals’ lead to 2-1 in the top of the eighth on back-to-back doubles by Hardy and Nick Markakis with no outs. Markakis was thrown out trying to steal third base with one out and Matt Wieters at the plate. Not sure why he was running there.
Hunter gave the Orioles back-to-back quality starts by allowing two runs and seven hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out one.
Wilson Betemit homered with one out in the top of the ninth to reduce Kansas City’s lead to 3-2.
Update III: The Orioles have tied the game on Hardy’s two-out single that scored pinch-runner Ryan Flaherty. Avery singled with two outs to keep the rally alive.
Hardy’s now 3-for-7 with three RBIs lifetime against Jonathan Broxton.