Frasor an escape artist out of Royals' bullpen
ARLINGTON -- Jason Frasor provided yet another example in Sunday night's 2-1 win in 10 innings over the Tigers of why the defending American League champion Royals were 20-11 entering Monday and atop the AL Central.
The Royals are tough, especially their league-best bullpen.
Frasor worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the ninth inning after the 37-year-old right-hander warmed up twice. Once during the long rain delay when the teams were told there was going to be a 30-minute window before another storm cell arrived. And then again when the tarp was finally removed after a 1-hour, 43-minute rain delay.
Frasor had to face sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez to start the ninth, and ultimately got James McCann to pop out to end the inning.
"[Jason] did a phenomenal job getting through that," Yost said. "I wasn't worried about it if he hadn't gotten hot the first time, and then had to sit down. But he had to get hot [again], then come in and face Cabrera, Martinez."
Frasor has stepped right into the Royals' deep and talented bullpen, providing a veteran presence while being able to pitch in almost every situation. Entering Monday, he had allowed one run in 11 1/3 innings, getting his first win of the season on Sunday night.
"Frasor has been a guy that we like to bring on in the middle of an inning and stop the bleeding," Yost said. "And he's done it tremendously with his experience, his competitiveness. He doesn't panic when he gets out there on the mound in those situations."
The rain delay wasn't just trying for Frasor. Yost lamented not getting to use right-hander Luke Hochevar, who came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth, but he didn't get to throw a pitch after a light rain turned into a downpour. Then came the window during the rain delay that didn't happen, something that Yost admitted was in Mother Nature's hands.
The skipper got a pep talk from catcher Salvador Perez.
"I was so mad on the bench after all of that stuff," Yost said, "because I knew I had lost Hochevar and I knew that it was going to affect Frasor. ... Salvy came over and he goes, 'Don't worry. We're going to out and score a run and get Holland out there, and get three outs and go to Texas.' That's their attitude. We're winning this game."
• Going back to the 2014 postseason, the Royals had won six straight extra-inning games. Four of those victories came on their way to the AL pennant. Kansas City also won, 3-2, in 13 innings against the White Sox on April 23.
• Kansas City and Detroit have traded first place in the AL Central 11 times already this season, with no team up by more than the 1 1/2 games the Royals were leading by entering Monday.