The Kansas City Royals have been bred to not hit home runs. And that's a problem, because they don't hit enough doubles or steal enough bases like the Whitey Herzog or Dick Howser teams of yore to make up for the lack of dingers.
Enter Alex Gordon on Sunday afternoon. And exit Alex Gordon, twice, hitting two home runs at big ol' Kauffman Stadium and driving in six runs to lead the Royals to an 8-6 victory against the Baltimore Orioles.
The neatest part, other than the deeps and the ribs, was the standing ovation he got from Royals fans, who practically begged Gordon for a curtain call after his second three-run homer of the day in the bottom of the seventh inning. Gordon, an All-Star in 2013 and a three-time Gold Glove winner who has accumulated nearly 4,000 career plate appearances in the majors, said via the Associated Press that it was his first curtain call ever.
''I didn't know what to do,'' Gordon said. ''They told me just to go wave my helmet. They just started yelling at me. I was downstairs enjoying the moment. They told me to come up and give the crowd a wave. It was my first. Hopefully, it's not the last. It was pretty cool. It's something I want forget."
It's funny that Gordon says he "didn't know what to do." The Royals came in with a league-low 18 home runs and Gordon, though he has averaged 19 deeps the past three seasons, came in with just one before victimizing Ubaldo Jimenez and Troy Patton. Regardless, Gordon completed his respective home run trots without getting lost.
Wearing replicas of uniforms worn by the Kansas City Monarchs from the mid-1920s, the Royals came back to earn a series split against the Orioles. They ought to consider sticking with the 90-year-old duds.
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ALBERT CAN HIT TWO, TOO:
The most recent time Albert Pujols went deep twice in the same game, he connected for career homer No. 500. The historical significance isn't as great this time, but it's still impressive because the feat came against left-hander David Price. Pujols hit a pair of solo shots to power the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays. Pujols is tied with Eddie Murray for 25th place with 504 home runs. None of his homers, before these, had come against Price, who is the 319th pitcher to lose a ball over the fence to Pujols.
''Price is going to throw his game, but we had a game plan and we tried to execute it,'' said Pujols, who came in 0 for 7 against left-hander. ''The same way that we do our scouting report, they do theirs, so he knows how to pitch us. We just needed to make adjustments, and that's what we did. He made a couple of mistakes and we took advantage. With a guy like him, you need to be aggressive, because he's only going to give you one or two good pitches in four at-bats.''
Price has been subject to more homers this season, having allowed at least one in eight of 10 starts. He allowed only two in his final 83 1/3 innings in 2013. Price was charged with six runs — five earned — and 11 hits against the Angels.
D-BACKS BEAT DODGERS TO TAKE 1ST SERIES AT HOME: The Arizona Diamondbacks finally can feel good about a series at Chase Field. It only took them about seven weeks of the MLB season.
Arizona's Cody Ross and Eric Chavez each hit a home run and the D-backs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 in the rubber match of a three-game set. Arizona also won 18-5 on Saturday after getting shut out in the opener. The D-backs are 6-16 at home.
Ross, who had major hip surgery on the offseason, came in batting .163 with no home runs until connecting against Dan Haren in the fourth to tie the score at 3-all.
BRAVES RALLY IN 9TH AGAINST CARDS CLOSER: Handed a one-run lead for the St. Louis Cardinals in the ninth, Trevor Rosenthal could not protect it. He was still one pitch, however, from getting out of it. A 3-2 fastball, clocked at 98 mph, appeared to catch the corner against Jordan Schafer but it was called a ball by umpire Eric Cooper. The walk forced in the tying run, and the Atlanta Braves pushed across one more for the lead and a 6-5 victory at Busch Stadium.
"It would have been a big win," Cards manager Mike Matheny said:
The good news for the Cardinals: Left-hander Jaime Garcia pitched seven innings in his first outing of the season after being sidelined with a sore shoulder.
[It's a light schedule Monday in Major League Baseball.]
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