Royals survive shaky 8th, win 2016 opener over New York, 4-3

For six innings on Sunday night, it was a prototypical Royals performance, with strong pitching, spectacular defense, and an offense hunting and pecking out runs for a 4-0 lead over the New York Mets.

In a rematch of the 2015 World Series, the Mets made the Royals sweat late, but clutch pitching from Luke Hochevar and Wade Davis shutdown the New Yorkers, and gave the World Champion Royals a 4-3 win, heard locally on KTTN AM 1600 and KTTN FM 92.3.

The Royals, surging from a pre-game ceremony that included a montage of the 2015 World Series, and the raising of the franchise’s second-ever World Championship flag, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.  After Mike Moustakas reached on a fielding error by Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, a passed ball sent “Moose” to second, before a walk to Lorenzo Cain put two runners on base, sending first baseman Eric Hosmer to the plate.  Denny Matthews had the call on the Royals Radio Network:

Kansas City doubled its lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, a Cain and Hosmer cracking back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners with no outs.  Designated hitter Kendrys Morales drove in Cain with a sacrifice fly.

In the Royals sixth, Cain walked and was pushed to second on a Hosmer single.  A Morales double play grounder seemed to short-circuit the rally, leaving Cain on third with two outs, with Alex Gordon attempting to salvage the inning:

Ryan Lefebvre had the call on the Royals Radio Network.  Kansas City’s offense was silent for the rest of the night, while starting pitcher Edinson Volquez was superb, going six shutout innings, giving up only two hits and walking three, an effort not overlooked by Manager Ned Yost:

Making his return to his first Major League team, right-hander Joakim Soria got the eighth inning, but struggled with his command, giving up two walks and a Juan Lagares single.  A two-run single by Lucas Duda and fielders choice grounder by Neil Walker cut the lead to 4-3, forcing Kansas City to use Luke Hochevar, who got the Royals to the ninth, with a lead, courtesy of a strikeout against Asdrubal Cabrera.

The Mets ninth was nail-biting for Kansas City fans as well, as New York and runners at the corners and one out.  A strikeout of David Wright brought Cespedes to the plate, trying to tie the game:

For the Royals, Hosmer was 3 for 4 with an RBI, Cain 1 for 2 with two walks and two runs scored, while Omar Infante had a pair of hits in three at bats.

Kansas City has an odd schedule to start the season, with an off day on Monday followed by Tuesday’s matinee with the Mets at Kauffman Stadium.  First pitch is slated for 3:15, with veteran Chris Young pitching for the World Champions opposite young flame thrower Noah Syndergaard for New York.  The Royals, in a pre-game ceremony on Tuesday, will receive their 2015 World Championship rings.  Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 2:30.  Tuesday’s game from Kauffman will be broadcast locally on KTTN AM 1600, with pregame at 2:30.

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