Earlier this year, Royals relievers couldn’t hold a late-inning lead, but last night’s performance may be proof that things are changing for the Kansas City bullpen. They held on to a one-run lead over the final three innings of last night’s 3-2 win against the Dodgers.
Rookie outfielder Shane Costa gave the Royals that slim lead in the fifth inning when he hit the first home run of his major league career to break a 2-2 tie.
Starter Runelvys Hernandez (4-7) held that lead by retiring the Dodgers in order in the sixth inning and got the win. He has allowed just four runs in his last three starts.
Jeremy Affeldt took over thin the seventh and he put down the three batters he faced in that inning. Affeldt was pulled for rookie Ambiorix Burgos after issuing a lead-off walk to J.D. Drew in the eighth inning. Burgos struck out Jeff Kent, but hit Olmedo Saenez with a pitch to put runners at first and second. Burgo atoned for his mistake by striking out Jayson Werth and Jason Grabowski to end the inning.
Closer Mike MacDougal worked around a lead off hit to Jason Phelps in the top of the ninth to get his seventh save of the season.
All five runs on Tuesday were the result of home runs. Along with Costa’s homer in the fifth, the Royals got a long ball from David DeJesus hit at two-run home run shot in the first inning. Hee Seop Choi went deep for the Dodgers in the first.