Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Butler's Strikeout Typifies Royals Night in Game 5

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Butler's Strikeout Typifies Royals Night in Game 5

Article excerpt

The National League park went dark at some point after the fifth game of the World Series.

Yet it was not until the later innings Sunday that the light in the Kansas City Royals needed to be turned on for manager Ned Yost to identify a reserve.

It was then that he finally turned to a pinch-hitter. His best possibility as a pinch-hitter. Billy Butler came to the plate to lead off the eighth inning. Until then, the bats, gloves and breakfast menu Butler took to San Francisco had stayed alongside him on the bench.

You got to thinking the right-handed hitter deserved better. Maybe even a start at first base, in place of Eric Hosmer, with the Royals facing terrific Giants southpaw Madison Bumgarner.

Instead, we waited. Then, as quickly as Billy can do anything, he struck out. On three pitches. Froze on an absolutely devastating curve ball for strike three.

This, after Butler went 3 for 6 with two RBIs as the Royals split the first two games in Kauffman Stadium.

You suspected before Butler ever picked up a weighted bat and headed to the on-deck circle that the Royals were cooked. But when he fanned that quickly, it was game over. Especially with Jayson Nix up next after Yost made a double-switch and inserted the light- hitting infielder at second base.

Sure enough, Bumgarner mowed them down, and got Alcides Escobar to fly out. He closed the game by retiring the last nine Royals hitters and scattered four hits as part of a 5-0 shutout.

Back to Kansas City we go. The K will have to provide some kind of spark because with them the Royals will carry a string of 15 scoreless innings.

Disconcerting? Why, yes. Especially since Bumgarner will certainly be an option for the Giants if the Series goes to Game 7.

"You know it. …

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