Anatomy of a rally: Royals’ big seven-run inning fueled by dinks and doinks
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The hits just kept coming, no matter how soft or how hard the ball left Royals’ bats.
The Royals put Tuesday’s game away quickly with a seven-run explosion in the second inning fueled by a series of dinks and doinks and poor defense en route to a 10-0 shellacking of the Giants that forced a Game 7 of the World Series.
The Royals’ offensive approach was reminiscent of the way the Giants peppered the Royals in Games 4 and 5 — more death by paper cut than with big blasts.
"I think that just comes with great plate discipline," designated hitter Billy Butler said. "You know (Giants starter) Jake Peavy really tries to get you to chase outside or chase in the dirt and you have to stay patient. We did that.
"And when you do that, good things happen. You just keep putting the ball in play and keep making contact and good things happen."
The inning started with left fielder Alex Gordon hitting a soft flare into right-center for a single. Catcher Sal Perez followed by looping a liner into left, sending Gordon to third.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas then got jammed, but fisted a grounder just fair down the right-field line for a run-scoring double.
"You know, everyone was up there trying to do their job," Moustakas said. "We had guys taking pitches, working counts and making it hard on (Peavy). That’s kind of our game."
Shortstop Alcides Escobar then hit a 60-foot chopper to Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, who fielded the ball and made a slow check at third of Perez, who wasn’t about to try to score. But Belt was then out of position to get the speedy Escobar at first, who eluded Belt’s tag easily to load the bases.
"That’s just great hustle by Esky," Moustakas said. "He was moving down the line."
Right fielder Nori Aoki then fouled off several pitches with two strikes against Peavy before slashing a grounder just past third baseman Pablo Sandoval for an RBI single and it was 2-0.
"Just a great, great at-bat there from Nori," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "That was a big at-bat in the inning. Everyone could see him fighting each pitch and then he won the at-bat."
Up next was center fielder Lorenzo Cain, known throughout the season for his share of infield choppers and bloopers over the second baseman’s head — an area affectionately known to teammates as the LoCain Triangle.
Well, Cain visited that Triangle again by looping a short fly that dropped over the second baseman and between the two outfielders. That plated two runs and it was 4-0.
Up came Hosmer, who swung and slammed a one-hopper into the ground just in front of the plate, a ball that shot up in the air and sailed over shortstop Brandon Crawford, who was pulled in. Hosmer hustled all the way into second on the chopper for a two-run double and it was 6-0.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," Hosmer said. "That’s who we are. We’re an athletic team that likes to use our legs. That’s what we’ve been doing all season."
Butler finished the scoring with the hardest-hit ball of the inning, a blast into the right-center-field gap that went to the wall for a run-scoring double.
"At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how hard or how soft you hit them," Butler said. "Too many times you hit the ball hard and it goes right at someone. Tonight we got some balls to find some holes, but that’s also because we were patient and waited Peavy out."
And with the big inning, the Royals broke the Giants’ spirit and cruised to the Game 6 win.
"This is great and we’re happy," Hosmer said, "but now it’s time to forget it and get ready for Game 7. Hopefully, everyone in this locker room is confident. Everyone in the (starting) lineup got a hit, so we should feel good. But that’s a good team over there we got to beat."