Royals rake early, tempers flare late
Olivo, Greinke, skipper Hillman ejected as K.C. takes series
KANSAS CITY -- All the suspense lacking from a 14-3 Royals blowout suddenly filled the K as Miguel Olivo threw off his helmet and charged toward D.J. Carrasco on Sunday.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski restrained Olivo before he reached the mound and got the opportunity to take revenge on the pitcher who just threw at him.
"It's so obvious," Olivo said. "I just did what I needed to do."
Benches cleared and few players landed any hits. The glorified shouting match officially ended after Sox manager Ozzie Guillen waved his arms and screamed in front of the umpires, and got ejected. Olivo and Carrasco got kicked out as well, and after Zack Greinke hit a batter in the seventh, he and Trey Hillman made it a nice, round five people sitting in the clubhouses before this Royals win was complete.
Those altercations provided plenty of drama on Sunday. The rest of the game provided little. Pierzynski's hold and Guillen's dispute were about all the fight the White Sox had in Kansas City's easy win.
The Royals' bats ignited again in the heat. Kansas City strung together 19 hits a day after getting the same number.
That was more than enough for Greinke. Before the seventh, no Chicago player advanced past second base. Not bad for someone who gave up 11 hits in three innings against the Sox two weeks ago.
This win means a little more, too. Chicago has had Kansas City's number for years. Now, the Royals have won two series against them since the break.
But here's the burning question. Down 6-0 with the bases loaded in the fifth inning, would any manager call for his pitcher to hit someone, or would any pitcher intentionally throw at a hitter?
Olivo thought Carrasco did. His first pitch was an inside fastball. The second one would've hit Olivo if it didn't hit his bat first. And the third pitch, well, that one did hit him.
"On the first pitch if he would've hit me," Olivo said, "I would've been fine to head to first base. But three times he's inside."
Carrasco said he was trying to throw inside sinkers and they got away from him. Guillen thought the pitches were unintentional as well. He tried telling that to the umpires, and that's why he got ejected.
"I wonder why the guy thought we're going to hit the guy with the bases loaded, with a pitch in the hands," Guillen said. "I'm not going to bring in a guy who throws 85 miles per hour to hit somebody. I will bring [Octavio] Dotel. I'll bring [Matt] Thornton. Then I will tell them to hit 'em. That's the way I do business. You have to have a little bit of common sense."
Greinke took the unintentional route as well when explaining the pitch that earned him his ejection. Hillman got thrown out automatically because of Greinke's pitch.
Before that seventh inning, Greinke dazzled. The last time he faced the White Sox, they continually hit his first-pitch fastballs. Greinke had a plan to mix his pitches more often, but he didn't really need to. More often than not, Chicago batters came up with an out when they connected with his heater.
"He actually threw more fastballs in the first inning than I thought he would go to," Hillman said, "but he had a lot more command than in the last outing against them."
Kansas City's 19-hit attack was spurred by homers from Mike Aviles and Jose Guillen. Aviles finished the day 4-for-4, and Mitch Maier and Billy Butler had three hits for the second straight game. Seven different players had at least one RBI, including Olivo.
Before he decided to spice up the game in the fifth, Olivo hit a two-run double, giving Kansas City its first runs of the day. In the past two games, he has four hits, a home run and four RBIs.
His tear might not continue too much longer. Players who charge the mound like he did often end up with suspensions.
Olivo is ready for anything. He'd been hit earlier this year against Chicago and didn't think it was a mistake this time.
"I'm a man," he said. "I take my consequences. I know what I did, and I think I did the right thing."
Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.