Luck? Royals did a whole lot right before bloop

June 11th, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- Out of nowhere, the Royals’ stagnant offense rose up for two runs in the eighth inning -- albeit with a little help from the Tigers’ defense -- to secure a much-needed, 3-2 victory on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Here are five takeaways from a satisfying win for the Royals, who had lost eight of nine coming in:

The Mondesi hustle double

The Royals’ winning rally started with one out when shortstop , who had three hits on the night, grounded one through the shortstop hole into left field against left-hander Daniel Stumpf. Mondesi had threatened to stretch a single into a double in his two previous hits. This time, he went for it and made it easily.

“It was big to get us in scoring position, but it was big to give us a spark that we needed in the dugout,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “They were keeping their heads up in the dugout, but we needed a spark.”

Right fielder agreed, saying, “As soon as he hit that double, the energy in the dugout came up.”

As Royals fans and opponents have learned this year, Mondesi is always thinking about an extra base.

“Every time I hit the ball, I turn to run,” Mondesi said. “I just want to create something with hustle. When I hit it, I saw the left fielder. He was playing more to the gap. I thought I had a chance, so I just ran hard.”

The Soler game-tying double

Mondesi’s hustle paid off as Soler drove a double into the left-field corner off right-hander Victor Alcantara. That tied the score at 2.

The hit sounded like it broke Soler’s bat.

“I hit it good, but I don’t know why the bat broke,” Soler said through interpreter Pedro Grifol.

Soler will gladly take it, as will the Royals.

“Not only was it an important win, but it was a good game,” Soler said. “There were some good things that happened. It was just a good baseball game. Hopefully, we can add a few more.”

The Gore steal

Yost immediately went for the win, bringing in speedy pinch-runner for Soler. Within moments, Gore stole third with the lead run. Gore went in headfirst and nearly flipped completely over the base, but he was able to hang on with his right foot somehow in an incredibly acrobatic move.

How did Gore stay on the base?

“That’s a million-dollar question,” Yost said. ‘Everyone was asking that question. It was like he had magnets on his feet.”

Gore, smiling, had no answers, either.

“That’s a great question,” Gore said. “Nobody knows. I don’t even know. Luckily, I did.”

No-man’s land

The Royals have been searching for some breaks lately, and they got one after Gore’s steal. followed with a routine pop behind first base. Three Tigers converged on the popup, but they all watched one another and let it drop.

Gore came in with the lead run, though he said he probably would have tagged and attempted to score if either the second baseman or first baseman -- both with their back to the infield -- would have caught the ball.

“I was tagging,” Gore said. “I was going to tag no matter what.”

Another solid start

Right-hander Jakob Junis turned in the Royals’ third straight solid start. He went seven innings and gave up just five hits and two runs -- both solo home runs.

But the big stat was no walks. That was his first no-walk game of the season, and Junis took pride in that.

“I felt pretty normal,” Junis said. “I didn’t feel exceptionally great or bad -- somewhere in the middle. I think we just had a pretty good game plan, and we executed it. Made a couple mistakes, and they took it out of the yard. Luckily, they were solos. Kept us in the game.

“I wanted to challenge them. I know I got behind a couple times. I really didn’t want to put anyone on with a free base.”