Night of redemption spurs Royals win
DeJesus, Olivo make up for mistakes; Greinke short-changed
CLEVELAND -- It was a night of redemption for Miguel Olivo and David DeJesus.Olivo and DeJesus both made crucial mistakes that cost their Cy Young candidate, Zack Greinke, a possible win. But they both made up for it with clutch plays that propelled their team to a 2-1 win over the Indians in 12 innings Friday night at Progressive Field. DeJesus threw out two potential game-winning runs at the plate, and Olivo provided the deciding home run to give the Royals their fifth straight win. "It's a great win for us," manager Trey Hillman said. "The only thing that would have made it better is if Zack got the win." Greinke came in with Cy Young-caliber numbers in just about every category except wins. The Royals haven't given him much run support in his starts, and Friday was no different. He pitched seven innings, giving up one run on four hits with six strikeouts and no walks. But his offense was just 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position, and he left with a no-decision. It is the sixth time this season that he's given up one run or less and not won. "We had some opportunities early," Hillman said. "The tremendous positive is that his ERA went down. He pitched a great ballgame." The Royals had chances to separate themselves from the Indians early, but couldn't get the crucial hit to put themselves over the top. They left a runner in scoring position in each of the first four innings. Even their first run came via an out. After Alberto Callaspo began the fourth inning with a double, Mark Teahen singled and advanced Callaspo to third. Olivo gave the Royals a 1-0 lead with a groundout to third. In the seventh, Olivo made his crucial mistake. After singling to lead off the inning, Olivo went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Alex Gordon. After Yuniesky Betancourt struck out, DeJesus hit a grounder that second baseman Luis Valbuena couldn't handle for an infield hit. When the ball short-hopped Valbuena, Olivo attempted to score. But shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera's throw beat him by a few feet and the threat was over. "Somebody said, 'No! No!'" Olivo said. "I thought they said, 'Go! Go!'" The run could have given Greinke some much-needed support. But instead, Olivo was tagged out and the Indians were able to stay in the game. With one out in the seventh, Shin-Soo Choo hit a Greinke fastball high off the left-field wall. The ball caromed away from DeJesus, who misplayed the hit. When DeJesus finally got to it, he still had a chance to throw out Choo at third. But he bobbled the ball and Choo slid into third uncontested. "I wanted to make a play for Zack," DeJesus said. "I didn't think it was going to carry that much." Greinke got Jhonny Peralta to fly out for the second out, but the next batter, Travis Hafner, hit a line drive to left. DeJesus attempted to make a diving catch, but the ball fell in for a single to score Choo and tie the game at 1. Greinke was finished after throwing 102 pitches. It was his 24th quality start of the season, which is the most since Kevin Appier had 29 such starts in 1993. The good performance lowered his ERA to just 2.19. "You just have to pitch how you normally pitch," Greinke said. "Hopefully it works out." It wouldn't work out for Greinke, but thanks, in part, to two big throws from DeJesus, it would for the Royals. In the ninth, Kyle Farnsworth, in his second inning of relief, struck out Michael Brantley to begin the inning. But he then allowed a single and a walk to Cabrera and Choo, respectively. Peralta then singled and Cabrera tried to score from second. But DeJesus came up throwing to get Cabrera out at the plate. In the 11th, with runners on first and second, Peralta again singled to left. The speedy Brantley attempted to score, but DeJesus' throw beat him and Olivo hung on as the center fielder plowed into him. "It was do or die," DeJesus said. "I was told to play in. The first one was easy. The second one I kind of bobbled a bit." The two DeJesus plays kept the score tied until the 12th when, with one out, Olivo fell behind, 0-2, to Indians reliever Jose Veras. The next pitch Olivo saw ended up five rows deep in the left-field stands to give the Royals a 2-1 lead. It was his 19th home run of the season. "He had gotten me out a couple times before with breaking balls in," Olivo said. "I think I just got lucky. He left one hanging a little bit. Joakim Soria came in and secured the win and his 25th save of the season. It is the first time since early May that the Royals have won five straight games.
Matt O'Donnell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.