Kansas City, Mo. Chris Getz didn’t have to wait long to redeem himself.
Twenty-four hours after he botched a bouncer in the ninth inning that led to an unearned run in a loss, he drove in the go-ahead run with two outs in the eighth inning, and the Royals beat the Chicago Cubs, 3-2, Saturday night, snapping a season-high six game losing streak.
Getz’s grounder was deflected by pitcher Jeff Samardzija (5-4) to Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, but his throw to first was late, and Jeff Francoeur, who had walked, scored. Samardzija walked two and hit a batter and retired only one of the five batters he faced.
“Last night was kind of brutal with the small debacle in the eighth,” Getz said. “Well, not small, it was huge. That’s the great thing about baseball; you come back the next day. I don’t have to wait a week. Show up the next day, and you can do something to help the team. It just so happens I came up a situation, I don’t want to say to make up for it, but certainly gives yourself a chance to win the game.”
Samardzija, an All-American wide receiver at Notre Dame, tried to barehand Getz’s hopper.
“I thought his hands were better,” Getz said and laughed.
Samardzija wished he hadn’t touched the ball.
“I just couldn’t stop myself,” he said. “I saw it coming, and I thought I had a chance at it. In hindsight, if you have a great athlete like Castro back there at short, you got to take the odds that Castro is going to make that play. If I don’t hit it, he makes that play.”
Greg Holland (2-1) pitched a perfect eighth to pick up the victory. Joakim Soria struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth to log his 12th save in 17 opportunities.
While Getz has only seven extra-base hits and a .261 average, he is hitting .367 with runners in scoring position.
“Getz is really, really good in those situations, hitting better than .360 with runners in scoring position and finds a way to get them in,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “I’ve got a lot of trust in that situation in Getz. I knew we needed to get a run right there and get Soria in the game. I had all the confidence in the world that Chris would find a way to put the ball in play and make something good happen.”
The Royals jumped to a 2-0 lead in the fifth when Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler stroked run-scoring singles. The Royals had a chance to add on with the bases loaded and one out, but Mitch Maier and Mike Moustakas had infield popouts to end the inning.
Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto hit back-to-back home runs in a span of four pitches by Danny Duffy in the top of the sixth to tie it at 2.
Duffy, a rookie left-hander making his ninth career start, worked a career-high seven innings, allowing two runs on nine hits, while striking out two, walking one and hitting a batter. Duffy struck out nine in 32⁄3 innings in his previous start at St. Louis before exiting because of a cramp in his left leg.
“That was Duffy’s best game,” Yost said. “He was very efficient with his pitches. He spotted his fastball well, had great stuff. When they got the back-to-back homers, that was the only little dent they put in him. He did a great job all the way around. He was throwing more strikes, getting quicker outs. He was throwing his breaking ball for strikes and actually had a pretty good changeup.”
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano, who was facing the Royals for the first time in his career, gave up two runs on eight hits in seven innings, while walking three and striking out two.
The Cubs, who had four runners thrown out on the base paths Friday, had Reed Johnson cut down at the plate in the third, when he attempted to score from second on Jeff Baker’s single to left. It was Alex Gordon’s 12th assist, which leads all big-league outfielders.
Gordon also singled to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, matching the second-longest streak of his career.
Notes: RHP Kevin Appier, the Royals’ all-time strikeout leader with 1,458, was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in pregame ceremonies. Appier, a first-round pick in 1987, pitched for 16 seasons in the majors, including 13 with the Royals. He had a 115-92 record with a 3.49 ERA with the Royals, including two one-hitters. He was the 17th player inducted. ... Yost did not start Melky Cabrera and Francoeur, giving them a rest, but both were used as pinch-hitters in the eighth. Rookie Jarrod Dyson started in center, while Mitch Maier was in right. Castro singled in the third to extend his hitting streak to a career-high nine games. ... The Saturday crowd of 38,744 was the Royals’ second-largest attendance of the year at Kauffman Stadium, superseded only by 40,055 on opening day.