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Saturday, July 03, 2010

A Narrow Thing: Royals 2, Angels 1 (10 Innings)

At the start of this game, I thought to myself, looking at the Royals' high team batting average (at .284, first in the league), and surprisingly good 3.87 bullpen ERA that the pressure was on the Angels offense to get to the Royals' starter early with a big lead, or else the bullpen would be vulnerable to yet another meltdown. Sure enough, that's exactly what happened, as Joe Saunders pitched a gem through eight, but walked the first man he faced in the top of the ninth — Billy Butler, on five pitches. That was it for him, but Brian Fuentes — brought in one batter too late — nearly escaped unscathed, save for an RBI single to Mike Aviles, driving home pinch-runner Willie Bloomquist.

The fact of Bloomquist's scoring the tying run in the top of the ninth proved to be only the opening volley in what became an Angels fail. The slap-hitter also ended up driving home the game's winning run against a hapless Scot Shields, who looks one or two batters away from either a DL stint or retirement.

All this was really sad, because Joe Saunders pitched quite a game otherwise, considering; and the Angels just couldn't convert their chances. A bad, foul night for all parties concerned in the Angels camp, and even despite some fairly good offensive performances by guys normally at the bottom of the lineup; the real problem was the 1-3 hitters going 1-for-13 at the top of the lineup.

Pointless save of the game:

Howie Kendrick's fine stop at the end of the eighth to end the Royals' threat.

ESPN BoxAngels recap

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