Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Tim Bisel: Royals Show a's What Ultimate Payback Looks Like

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Tim Bisel: Royals Show a's What Ultimate Payback Looks Like

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Amid all the beanballs, all the dirty slides, all the umpiring controversy and all the talk of unwritten rules, Lorenzo Cain and the Kansas City Royals refused to lose their way.

Or their series against the suddenly hated Oakland A's.

In a gritty display remarkably reminiscent of last year's stunning wild-card game and postseason run, the Royals left 36,755 Kauffman Stadium fans in delirium Sunday with a 4-2, come-from- behind win against the A's.

If you want theater, this game had it all. It featured no fewer than five Royals ejections, at least that many warnings from home plate umpire Greg Gibson and a stirring three-run Royals rally in the bottom of the eighth that turned a day's worth of jeers into a thunderous chorus of late-afternoon cheers.

Oh, and above all, it featured payback. Big-time payback.

"The biggest payback is us winning. That's all we care about," said Cain, the center fielder who was drilled by A's starter Scott Kazmir's fifth pitch of the game but later delivered one of the day's biggest hits with a game-tying double to left-center in the eighth. "Regardless of the situation, guys are going to back each other. That's what we did."

This series was a volcano waiting to erupt from the moment A's third baseman Brett Lawrie began his injurious slide into shortstop Alcides Escobar on Friday night. On Sunday, the volcano appeared to boil over -- at least from the Royals' perspective.

Manager Ned Yost and pitching coach Dave Eiland were ejected in the bottom of the first after Kazmir plunked Cain on the side of the foot. It marked the 14th time this young season a KC player has been hit by a pitch.

Eiland was tossed first, but Yost -- obviously upset that Kazmir didn't receive the same ejection treatment that Royals starter Yordano Ventura received Saturday night when he drilled Lawrie -- let loose a gum-tossing tirade that would make former Kansas State men's basketball coach Frank Martin proud.

With two out in the top of the eighth, Yost and Eiland were joined in the locker room by reliever Kelvin Herrera, acting manager Don Wakamatsu and Escobar. Those three were given the thumb after Herrera sent a fastball whizzing behind the back of Lawrie, the biggest villain Kansas City has known since Madison Bumgarner stymied the Royals in last year's World Series.

Combine the ejections with yet another injury -- this one to second baseman Omar Infante, who strained his left groin after belting a fifth-inning double -- and KC seemed doomed despite trailing by just a 2-1 margin.

But just like last year, the Royals proved there's no quit in their DNA.

"We're resilient; we're grinders," said starting pitcher Danny Duffy, who grinded through five innings despite battling control problems that sent his pitch count soaring to 92. …

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