August 22: Kansas City 10, Texas 5
KC entered the series in second place in the Expansion Division, but Seattle has been widening their lead lately. Manager Ned Yost decided it was time to make a couple of changes to try to jolt a little more life into the Royals’ pursuit of the division title, and made the tough decision to replace Frank White at second base with Jose Offerman. “Frank is such a big part of this team, I hate to take him off the field. But we’ve got to find a way to score some more runs, and we think Jose can help us do that,” explained Yost before the game.
White has been a defensive whiz at second as expected, but he’s also been by far the worst every-day hitter in the league. His wOBA sits at .223. The second worst wOBA in the league by a qualified hitter is Sherm Lollar of Chicago’s .261. Offerman should provide more offense than White, but has poor range in the field.
Yost also made a change in the rotation and installed Bud Black in what had been a struggling Mark Gubicza’s spot. Both moves looked brilliant in the series opener. Black allowed just one earned run in 5.2 innings, and Offerman drilled an RBI single in his first plate appearance of the season. Offerman added a double and another single later in the game and handled several chances at second with no problems.
The Royals put on a rare display of power, crushing six doubles and three homers. George Brett had his best day of the season with a single, two doubles, and a dinger.
R H BB TEX 100 001 021 - 5 10 4 KC 400 120 21x - 10 17 3 HR: M. Hargrove (9), R. Palmeiro (21), J. Mayberry (20), G. Brett (6), D. Tartabull (22) starters IP R ER HR BB SO F. Jenkins 4.0 6 6 1 2 1 B. Black 5.2 2 1 0 4 2 TEX 57-68, KC 63-62
August 23: Texas 4, Kansas City 3
Runs were harder to come by in the second game for both teams. KC starter Jose Rosado handed a 3-2 lead to the bullpen. The flip-side of the Royals new second baseman reared its head in the top of the eighth when a Josh Hamilton groundball that White would have scooped scooted past Offerman for a single. Darrell Porter compounded the fielding problems with an error two batters later that allowed Julio Franco to reach. A-Rod and Rafael Palmeiro drove in Hamilton and Franco to take the lead for good.
George Brett tripled in his first plate appearance of the game, giving him the meaningless but rare distinction of hitting for the cycle over five consecutive plate appearances bridging two games.
R H BB TEX 010 001 020 - 4 6 3 KC 100 200 000 - 3 10 1 HR: A. Oliver (5), J. Hamilton (16) starters IP R ER HR BB SO C. Hough 7.0 3 3 0 1 1 J. Rosado 6.0 2 2 2 1 4 TEX 58-68, KC 63-63
August 24: Kansas City 2, Texas 1
Then the runs really dried up in the finale as Yu Darvish and Kevin Appier dueled. The Royals managed just three hits in the game, but in the bottom of the second, Danny Tartabull led off with a walk, Alex Gordon followed with a double, and Willie Wilson drove them both in with his 128th single.
R H BB TEX 010 000 000 - 1 6 3 KC 020 000 00x - 2 3 2 HR: none starters IP R ER HR BB SO Y. Darvish 7.0 2 2 0 2 6 K. Appier 7.0 1 1 0 3 5 TEX 58-69, KC 64-63