KANSAS CITY — Add another name to the list of candidates for the Royals’ 2019 rotation.
Right-hander Glenn Sparkman, in only his third career start, held the American League Central champion Indians to one run on five hits over five innings Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won, 2-1, on Salvador Perez’s two-out walk-off single in the 10th, which scored Adalberto Mondesi.
Mondesi had walked and swiped second and third base, putting him at 30 steals for the season.
“Mondi’s steals were great,” Perez said. “He’s becoming one of the best shortstops in the league right now. The way he plays defense, the at-bats. He had a great [plate appearance] in the 10th.”
Royals manager Ned Yost also raved about Mondesi’s walk in the 10th.
“His patience was fantastic,” Yost said. “You keep thinking, ‘OK, if you get on, the chances of us winning this ballgame are going to be great,’ even with two outs, because you know he’s going to, boom, put himself in scoring position and we’re just a hit away. Great by Mondi to take a walk, laid off a back-foot slider. It just shows you his growth. Last year, that was an automatic swing 3-2 for a strikeout. He’s made tremendous strides there.”
While Danny Duffy, Brad Keller, Jakob Junis and Ian Kennedy likely will be the top four in the rotation, Sparkman certainly will get a look next spring along with Jorge Lopez, Heath Fillmyer, Eric Skoglund and others.
Sparkman walked none and struck out two over his career-high five innings, throwing 78 pitches. The one run off Sparkman was somewhat tainted: Francisco Lindor singled in the first and went to second when first baseman Ryan O’Hearn couldn’t handle Sparkman’s pickoff throw for an error. Lindor went to third on a balk and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Ramirez.
“We knew going in that it was going to be a 75-pitch count for him,” Yost said. “He pitched a great game. Had some [bad] luck in the first inning. … He very easily could’ve shut them out.”
The Royals tied the game at 1 in the third, when Mondesi belted his 13th home run on a 2-0 cutter from Josh Tomlin.