The Final Home Game of 2008.
Last night had no shortage of memorable moments and team photographer Chirs Vleisides was there to capture it. Among the most special was Kila Ka’aihue’s first Major League home run off Sox starter Gavin Floyd, complete with a curtain call made to a standing ovation from the almost capacity crowd.
The young slugger got a bit of a personal surprise with his September call-up, having to be added to the 40-man roster after hitting a combined 37 home runs in the minors this season. With 26 at Double-A Northwest Arkansas and another 11 in just a month at Triple-A Omaha, Ka’aihue had the fourth highest total in all levels of the minor leagues. He was named Texas League Player of
the Year, despite playing the final month of the season in the Pacific Coast League.
Ka’aihue was so dominant at Double-A he finished tied for the lead in home runs even though he played in 37 fewer games than his co-homer champ Arkansas’ Corey Smith. His 80 walks fell three short of the leader who played in 136 games compared to Ka’aihue’s 91 at Double-A. He coupled his high walk rate with a low strikeout rate. The Hawaiian struck out just 40 times in 287 at-bats in the Texas League. He had a .314 average and a .463 on-base percentage, neither of which qualified for the end of the season titles.
Alex Gordon also homered, his first one since coming off the Disabled List. Kyle Davies looked strong again, posting his second straight seven-plus inning start. He threw 15 scoreless innings, ending in the eighth last night. Joakim Soria tied Doug Bird for third on the Royals all-time career saves list, notching his 41st save of the season and 58th of his career. Only Jeff Montgomery and Dan Quisenberry have more saves in their Royals careers than Soria. David DeJesus delivered yet again in the clutch, going 1-for-1 with runners in scoring position. DeJesus’ infield single moved the runner over who later scored. With the hit, DeJesus raised his RISP average to .413 – which leads the Majors and is percentage points more than Texas’ Ian Kinsler.
DeJesus also hit his second career inside-the-park home run and the third for the Royals this season. An interesting note about the most exciting play in baseball, 77 of the team’s 93 inside-the-park home run have come at home in spacious Kauffman Stadium – it really makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
Last night was also “Shirts Off Their Backs” Night, which was a solid success, raising nearly $20,000 for Operation Breakthrough. With 23,754 in the stands for the 5-2 win over the White Sox and tickets going for a dollar, the total raised was close to a dollar per fan.
Today’s Official Game Notes.