Royals, Rays make history with 10-inning epic
Hochevar, Price duel only second of its kind since 1900 according to Elias
ST. PETERSBURG -- How rare was that epic pitching duel between the Royals' Luke Hochevar and the Rays' David Price?
"You don't see games like that much anymore," Royals manager Ned Yost said after his team's 1-0 win in 10 innings on Tuesday.
In fact, research by the Elias Sports Bureau revealed there's only been one other game like it in the Major Leagues since 1900.
Hochevar and Price were the only two pitchers to each work at least eight innings in a game, give up zero runs and three hits or fewer, and strike out at least eight. Both were pulled after the eighth inning. Hochevar gave up one hit and struck out 10; Price surrendered three hits and struck out eight.
The only other game that matched those criteria came on Aug. 26, 1968, in the second game of a doubleheader between the Minnesota Twins and the Washington Senators. Jim Perry, in nine scoreless innings for the Twins, gave up two hits and struck out nine. The Senators' Frank Bertaina went 11 shutout innings, with two hits and nine strikeouts. The Senators won in the 13th, 1-0.
"So that was as good a game as was thrown in the last century with two pitchers doing that," Yost said. "And 9,000 fans got to see it."
Paid attendance at Tropicana Field was actually 10,877, plus the game was televised locally in both Tampa Bay and Kansas City.
Also, it was the 14th time the Royals have played a 1-0 game in extra innings; they are 5-9 in those games. The last previous victory was on Sept. 14, 1983, at Anaheim when Don Slaught singled in Hal McRae in the 14th inning to beat the Angels.
MLB changes hit to an error in Guthrie's gem
ST. PETERSBURG -- It turns out that Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie's bid for a no-hitter carried into the eighth inning last Sunday against the White Sox. Technically, that is.
Major League Baseball, on an appeal by the Royals, on Wednesday overturned official scorer Del Black's hit call on Paul Konerko's ground ball with two outs in the seventh inning, instead charging shortstop Alcides Escobar with an error. Escobar fielded the ball in the hole, and his throw from the outfield grass bounced and first baseman Eric Hosmer couldn't scoop it up.
The White Sox, after two outs in the eighth inning, did get undisputed singles by Dayan Viciedo and Ray Olmedo, and Guthrie was taken out of the game. So now Guthrie is charged with just two hits instead of three.
MLB also reviewed two plays in Saturday's game against the White Sox. Hosmer was given a seventh-inning double on a play previously scored as an error on third baseman Kevin Youkilis. But a request to change Alex Gordon's single-and-error in the third inning to a double was denied.
Hochevar takes lot of sting out of Rays' hitters
ST. PETERSBURG -- After Tuesday night's epic pitching duel, Luke Hochevar said he was primarily focused on making quality pitches, but make no mistake, he was well aware of what David Price was doing for the Rays.
"You know. If you didn't, you're dead," Hochevar said on Wednesday. "You know what's going on and you know who's throwing on the other side, but what I meant by that is you can't get caught up in it."
Hochevar's eight-inning performance gave him 17 shutout innings this season against the Rays; he pitched an 8-0 complete-game victory for the Royals on June 25 in Kansas City.
How good was he this time?
"He has a very good fastball. I thought he had very good command of it. It was really just taking off out of his hand," said the Rays' Carlos Pena. "We got a lot of swing-and-misses underneath the ball just because of how much rise effect he had on it. I thought he was locating it well, and also the offspeed pitches. That differential, that 94-mph fastball and he throws a 76-mph curveball. The difference is huge. For him to be throwing it for strikes makes it that much tougher for all of us to adjust. That was a great performance by him."
It didn't concern Hochevar that he didn't get credit for the victory.
"If the team doesn't click, you don't go anywhere. That's why we play the game, to experience something greater than ourselves and get to a playoff or something like that," Hochevar said. "If you get a W, you get a W, it doesn't matter who wins it. And, shoot, it was Kelvin Herrera's first win of his big league career."
Royals looking to maintain good standing
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Royals might get used to these new lodgings -- they've been living in third place in the American League Central for four days now entering Wednesday's series finale against the Rays.
That comes after spending most of the season in fourth place -- from April 26 through July 27 -- and then dropping into the cellar for a couple weeks. Then the Royals got back to fourth and now third.
Good progress, but as manager Ned Yost put it: "Let's see where we are at the end of September."
Going into Wednesday, the Royals were 12 games under the .500 mark, an oft-stated goal of Yost's.
"Look, from that 12-game losing streak to this point, we've played .500 baseball," Yost said. "So just keep plugging away."
Almost. Since the infamous 12-game skid ended on April 24, the Royals had gone 52-53 before Wednesday.
Perez, Hosmer pick their spots on bases
ST. PETERSBURG -- The pickoff of the Rays' Matt Joyce in the fourth inning on Tuesday night was the result of good communication between Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and catcher Salvador Perez.
On a 2-1 pitch, Perez snapped a throw to Hosmer and caught Joyce off first base -- the fifth pickoff of Perez's career and his third at Tropicana Field. Perez had two here in his big league debut last year.
"That's Hosmer's call," Perez said. "He gave me a sign when we saw the guy with a big lead. It's a good combination, Hosmer and me."
"Me and Salvy are pretty good at communicating on that," Hosmer said. "When he peeks over and gives me that look, I know he's wanting to do something, so it was a good time right there. Matt was getting a pretty good secondary lead, and with Salvy's arm, it's stupid not to try it."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.