Callaspo’s 3-run HR helps give Royals a win
SEATTLE (AP) — Alberto Callaspo turned failure into success in the span of one pitch Wednesday night.
Callaspo couldn’t come through in putting down a crucial sacrific bunt
in the eighth inning. After going 3-2 and having the bunt sign taken
off, he simply crushed a three-run home run, lifting the Kansas City
Royals to a comeback 7-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday
Trailing by a run, Callaspo came up
with runners on first and second and no outs. Reliever Brandon League
(5-6) had walked the first two batters and went 2-0 to Callaspo.
“I’m not really wanting to bunt off League. He throws so hard. He’s
tough to bunt off of,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “But you have to
try to get the winning run to second base somehow.
“When it went ball one, ball two, the bunt was out of my mind but I was
having Calla square so maybe (League) would throw balls.”
But League threw a strike that Callaspo missed with a bunt thrust. It
then went 3-1 before League came inside with a fastball.
“It was inside and it was sinking,” Callaspo said. “It was tough to bunt.”
He managed to weakly foul it off, making it 3-2. Yost wasn’t going to gamble with two strikes. He took off the bunt sign.
“I was just trying to make good contact,” Callaspo said. “I was trying
to move the runners. Finally, I get the home run. Pretty good.”
He couldn’t hit the ball 10 feet but in five chances then connected for 368 feet on his final attempt.
“He made a mistake to Bert and it turned the tide for us,” said Mitch Maier, who hit a home run later in the four-run eighth.
League said he threw his best pitch.
“A fastball. I’m not going to try and load the bases throwing something
else,” League said. “I didn’t find the strike zone at all – walked two
guys. And when I did find the strike zone, he hits it out of the park.”
Billy Butler hit his ninth home run in the ninth, one that had to be confirmed by the umpires through video replay.
Victor Marte (3-0), who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, earned the victory.
Joakim Soria entered the ninth with two on and no outs and retired the
final three batters. He picked up his 25th save in 27 opportunities.
Soria saved all three games. It was the first time since June 12-14, 1995, that the Royals swept the Mariners in Seattle.
Casey Kotchman supplied all the Seattle runs with two home runs. In one
game, Kotchman produced one-third of his season home run total. He has
It also was Kotchman’s second career
multiple home run game. His first was May 14, 2007, against Texas when
he was with the Los Angeles Angels.
The Royals’ three-homer game was their first since May 6.
“Give up three home runs and six runs from the seventh inning on is not
going to get it done,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said.
Kansas City quickly created a run in the first inning. Jason Kendall
drew a one-out walk and moved to third on David DeJesus’s single to
right. He scored on Butler’s sac-fly to right.
Kotchman tied it with a two-out solo shot to right-center on Kyle Davies’ first pitch to him in the second.
The Mariners loaded the bases in the third with one out, ushering
pitching coach Bob McClure to the mound for a chat. That elicited an
instant positive result. Davies’ next pitch to Jose Lopez was a gift
one-hopper to mound and he turned it into a 1-2-3 double play.
Mariners starter Doug Fister struggled to find the plate early, walking
two and throwing 47 pitches by the second inning. He was up to 91
pitches after five innings.
Fister went six innings, allowing one run and six hits, exiting with a 3-1 lead.
In the sixth, Butler opened with a blast against the left-field
scoreboard, missing a home run by foot. But Michael Saunders swiftly
gathered the carom and threw to second. Inexplicably, Butler rounded
first too wide and was easily thrown out returning to the bag.
The Mariners started something in the ninth off Kyle Farnsworth. The
first two batters reached. Yost was forced to bring in Soria, who has
pitched in six of the Royals’ past seven games – with six saves.
“When we scored four runs ahead (non-save situation) I was thinking no
way,” Soria said, “but I have to stick with my team when they need me.”
Soria got Ichiro Suzuki and Chone Figgins on popups then struck out
Russell Branyan for his 18th consecutive save. He leads the majors in
Royals OF/DH Jose Guillen is day-to-day after sustaining a grade one
strain in his left quad Tuesday. “We were hoping that it wouldn’t be
worse and it’s not,” Yost said. “He’s not playing today, we’re off
tomorrow. We’ll see where he is on Friday.” It looked serious, as
Guillen barely made it up the line to first base. He said the muscle
kept cramping. But Guillen said he’s ready to play. “Just wrap it up
like old school and just go play,” he said. OF Milton Bradley has not
started the past four games because of a bruise to the fat pad on his
right knee. “He’s hitting, he just can’t do a lot of running right
now,” Wakamatsu said. “He’s getting treatment and staying off it a
Updated July 8, 2010