Riot! Fight! John Thomson's debut a success! Aghhhhh!
(Incidentally, this puts Duke's Cameron Crazies to shame, and not for the typical reason that Cameron Crazies are spoiled brats who whine a lot and are pretty much the biggest tools in the universe.)
A very useful four-run 2nd for the Royals gave Thomson all the breathing room he needed to carry his team to a 5-3 win. Seven innings, three runs (two earned, though it could have been fewer if Joey Gathright hadn't been so eager to chase after a fly ball that David DeJesus clearly had tracked down), six hits and no walks. No strikeouts, either, which means he threw just 81 pitches. It all made for a brisk two-hour, 23-minute game, the kind that makes me love baseball.
Joakim Soria and Octavio Dotel pitched a scoreless innings each to end the game. Soria and Dayton Moore and Buddy Bell and everyone else already knows this, but I'll say it anyway: Soria's better than Dotel, and if this were a perfect world, he'd be closing. Alas, Dotel's getting paid the money and performing admirably, if not great, so Soria's just going to have to wait -- kind of like Rafael Soriano, Rafael Betancourt and Akinori Otsuka.
Dotel walked the leadoff batter in the 9th, and as the crowd rose to its feet to welcome Vlad the Impaler to the plate, my heart searched for a place to hide. "Big Daddy Vlady," the Angels' color commentator said, just as Vlad uncorked an unhumanly massive swing on a 1-0 pitch. If any part of the ball touched that bat, it would have been smoked into the gap or over the waterfalls. Luckily, Vlad grounded out on the next pitch. Alex Gordon then made a tremendous diving stop on Casey Kotchman's hot shot and threw him out at first, taking the breath out of a crowd of 43,895. The next batter fouled out to end the game.
A solid win all around.
POSTSCRIPT: Gordon got plunked again, tying him with Grady Sizemore for the league lead at 11. Gathright also recorded an HBP, giving the Royals 46 on the season, most in the Majors.