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Wind’s Whims: Royals Settle for Doubleheader Split for the Second Straight Week

By Larry Lachman, 03/21/24, 8:30AM CDT


On Sunday the Royals encountered a day of contrasts, splitting their doubleheader against two formidable opponents; defeating Hauf’s Giants 14 – 3, and succumbing to Garza/Barr’s Cardinals 11 – 3.  Once again, the ever-changing wind conditions played a significant role in shaping the outcome of the games.

In the opener against the Giants, played on field 3 with a steady 12-mph wind gusting directly out to center field, the Royals showcased a well-balanced offense as Tommy Apligian paced the Royals’ 12-hit attack, contributing three hits.  Notably, eleven out of the 12 Royals players scored at least one run, reflecting the team’s well-distributed offense. 

The game’s narrative unfolded quickly in the top of the first when Ronel Martinez drew the first of his three bases on balls to lead off the game, and moved to third on Scott Greenberg’s single.  Up stepped Drew Waggoner to the plate.  On a 2–2 count, Waggoner launched a towering shot that caught the jet stream, and just kept on going.  The Giant’s left center fielder and former Royal, Matt Hyson, appeared to have a beat on it, tracking it to the fence, but just ran out of room, as Waggoner’s blast kept sailing, finding a home over the left center field fence.

While the Giants responded with two in the bottom of the first, Greenberg turned in another stellar pitching performance, scattering eight singles over five innings for the victory, despite the wind favoring the Giants’ hitters.

The game remained tightly contested until the fourth inning when the Royals cycled through their lineup for the fourth time this season, sending all 12 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs.  The Royals’ trademark this season has been their ability to score a plethora of runs after two outs had been recorded.  In the fourth, the Royals flipped the script and scored all seven runs of their runs before two outs had been recorded.  Apligian was the spark plug in the Royals’ 7-run fourth and 3-run fifth, as he singled to lead off both innings.

The game ended by virtue of the run-rule after five innings with the Royals up by 11.

Drew Waggoner  1 – 3, 1 Run, 4 RBI, 3-run HR
Tommy Apligian  3 – 3, 2 Runs
Ronel Martinez  3 BB, 1 Run
Ryan Greenberg  1 – 1, 2 Runs, 1 RBI, BB, SF
Andy Wetterlin  1 – 1, 2 RBI, BB, SF
Aaron Bartelson  2 – 3, 1 Run, 1 RBI
Scott Greenberg  1 – 2, 1 Run, 1 RBI, SF
Adwild Perez  1 – 3, 2 Runs, 2 RBI
Larry Lachman  1 – 3, 1 Run, 2 RBI

In the nightcap, the Royals traveled to field 1 to take on the Cardinals, where they faced a different challenge:  a reversal in the wind saw it blowing directly in from left field, and picking up strength, altering the dynamics of the game.  The final score belied how close this game really was, as a pitcher’s duel ensued between Greenberg and former Royal, Stan Thomas, with the Cardinals leading 5 – 3 after five innings.

Other than Ryan Driggers’ uncharacteristic 3-run inside-the-park homerun in the third – to right field no less, that ricocheted off the fence – neither team was able to produce much offense, largely due to the challenging wind conditions.  David Fiorello accounted for all three of the Royals’ runs, with a 2-run inside-the-park homerun in the second, and an RBI single in the fourth.  

With the wind steadily blowing in from left field throughout the game, it finally subsided in the sixth, and the Cardinals took full advantage of the opportunity, with Driggers’ 3-run fence homerun breaking the game open.