KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The feel-good from a stirring, come-from-behind, 6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night didn’t last long for Kansas City.
The Royals did win their third straight series and concluded a 5-2 homestand to push them three games over .500.
But the news that first baseman Eric Hosmer, who has been trying to play with a severe bone bruise for almost two weeks, officially has a non-displaced fracture in his right hand created a somber mood in the team’s clubhouse.
X-rays on Hosmer’s hand were positive, and he will go on the disabled list, manager Ned Yost said. Hosmer likely will miss anywhere from three to six weeks.
"It’s frustrating," Hosmer said quietly. "I tried to play through it. … Hopefully, it (recovery time) will be closer to three weeks than six."
The Royals initially said Hosmer’s injury did not involve a fracture after he was hit by Jon Lester, then with Boston. But severe swelling might have clouded the X-rays at the time, and Hosmer insisted on playing through the pain.
Asked if he thought his hand was broken originally, Hosmer said, "I think so."
The Royals now will have to survive without a hitter who had been sizzling hot prior to the injury. Billy Butler will immediately get more playing time at first, along with Raul Ibanez.
The Royals also could look for help in the minors, though there is no one on the 40-man roster who could help at that position. The Royals also have experimented briefly with catcher Sal Perez at first over the last year.
Yost initially said the Royals might just have Jason Vargas, who will come off the disabled list to pitch Saturday, and Hosmer switch places on the 25-man roster. But that would reduce the Royals’ position bench to just three players, so that wouldn’t seem a viable option.
Hosmer said he probably reinjured his hand on a check swing during his second at-bat Thursday.
"We’ll just have to let it take its course now," Hosmer said. "And I got to get it healed so I can get back to playing with the boys. The good news is I’ll be ready to go back playing with the boys for the last month."
Hosmer’s teammates did pull off a comeback Thursday, sparked by Alcides Escobar’s two-run triple in the seventh that gave the Royals a 4-2 lead. Yordano Ventura pitched seven effective innings, giving up just one earned run.
— A new leadoff man? Jarrod Dyson certainly made his case with a terrific job from the top spot. Dyson got the tying run home in the fifth with a sharp grounder that skipped past second baseman Eduardo Escobar and scored Mike Moustakas. The ball was originally ruled an RBI hit, then changed to an E-4. No matter. Dyson got the job done.
Then in the seventh with a runner on third and one out, Dyson singled on a 0-2 pitch to make it 5-2. Then Dyson did what he does best: Drive opponents crazy. Dyson stole second. Then he stole third. And when the throw skipped away, Dyson got up and raced home for the sixth run.
"I just try to put pressure on the defense," Dyson said. "That’s my game."
Watch out, Nori Aoki.
— The good Moose. Moustakas had a tough day in the field, which we’ll get to later. But Moose did get the Royals on the board in the fifth after Ibanez doubled. Moose ripped a shot over the head of center fielder Danny Santana for an RBI double as the Royals finally solved Twins starter Kevin Correia, who came into the game with a 5.06 ERA.
— Ace battled like a veteran. It seems as though every game we see something more to like about Ventura. He gave up a leadoff homer to Santana but didn’t get rattled and worked his way through the first calmly. In the third, his defense betrayed him. Eduardo Escobar led off with a slash single to left. With one out, Moustakas had a double-play ball on a one-hop but threw high to Omar Infante at second, sending Escobar to third. Then Trevor Plouffe hit a tapper to Moose, who had an easy throw to Perez at the plate for the out. But Moose launched it over Perez’s head. That made it 2-0. But Ventura seemed undaunted and struck out the next two hitters to keep it 2-0.
"He pitched really well when he had to," Yost said.
— The end of a streak. OK, this isn’t really a "down" in the sense that Wade Davis did anything wrong. Davis has practically been the best relief pitcher in baseball this season. But he finally gave up an extra-base hit — an RBI double to Kurt Suzuki. That was the first extra-base hit Davis has given up ALL SEASON. Seriously. He was the only pitcher in baseball with more than five appearances to have that distinction. After the double, he then struck out two of the next three hitters to keep it at 6-3.
— The Hoz issue. Losing Hosmer won’t be easy on this team. He’s had an up-and-down season, but he was as hot as anyone before he got hit by that Lester pitch in Boston. The Royals also will lose a Gold Glover at first. Butler said he will do his best to fill in.
"I know I’m not the Gold Glove guy there," Butler said, "but if I can just do my job and not get noticed — I figure if no one notices me over there, then there’s no problem."
— The bad Moose. As mentioned above, Moustakas had a rough night in the field with two wild throws that led to an unearned run. But Moose did get that run back with an RBI double.