Finally, the Royals can breathe a sigh of relief. In their 11th baseball game at Kauffman Stadium this season, the Boys in Blue found the “W’ column beating the New York Yankees 4-3. This win comes on the heels of a day game in Detroit where the team scrapped out a 3-2 victory against the Tigers in the ninth inning.
In the grand scheme of things, any win for this team is a good win. But Thursday’s game felt important to simply get that first home win out of the way. Lose, and who knows, the doubts and pressure of trying to win at home could continue to hinder a team playing eight of their next 11 games against perennial powers (six remaining at home; three each against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, two on the road at the Texas Rangers). Granted, New York and Boston are off to uninspiring starts this season.
As for the game, it starts with pitching, and what more can you say about the job by Danny Duffy. The left-hander challenged Yankee hitters all night, striking out six in five-plus innings of work, showing just how good he can be. Coming into the game, Royals starters were a combined 0-6, with a 6.57 ERA in 10 home starts. Once again the bullpen performed well as Jonathan Broxton grabbed his fifth save of the year aided by the help of a ninth inning double play ball.
Mike Moustakas led the team with two hits driving in three runs, including his fourth homer of the season, a solo shot blasted over the center field wall. And then Moose, with the tying run at third in the ninth, ended the game on a defensive gem, bare-handing a slow roller off the bat of Alex Rodriguez and throwing to first for the final out.
For the Yankees (13-12), the defeat was overshadowed by the injury to their Hall of Fame closer, Mariano Rivera. Rivera was shagging fly balls during batting practice and dove for one near the warning track. He fell to the ground twisting his knee awkwardly and suffered a right ACL tear.
For the Royals (8-16), it’s one win, but for a team that notched its first home win of the year in May, it was the way the homestand had to start. Shaking the April demons from that 10-game home losing streak was a must. Now the Royals can focus on putting together a strong streak of winning baseball, and they’ll face another test as Bruce Chen squares off with CC Sabathia on the hill Friday night.