Paul Molitor was as surprised as anyone when Ehire Adrianza squared around to bunt with runners on second and third base and two outs in the eighth inning Sunday. He didn’t mind the play, but he thought Adrianza forgot one important factor.
“That’s an All-Star back there,” Molitor pointed out. “He’s pretty good.”
Yes, Salvador Perez spoiled Adrianza’s plan by hustling out from behind the plate, grabbing the bunt about 20 feet up the line, and firing it to first base, ending the inning.
“It was supposed to go farther toward third,” Adrianza explained after the game. Third baseman Rosell Herrera “wasn’t expecting it. But I didn’t get it far enough away.”
Still, Molitor said, “it wasn’t a bad play. You just want to take the catcher out of the play when you bunt to third. … Just better execution on [the Royals’] side.”
Molitor was forced to move Adrianza to the outfield when Robbie Grossman got hurt, in order to use Logan Morrison as Grossman’s pinch runner. The manager didn’t want to use Joe Mauer unless he had no choice, and he didn’t want to use backup catcher Bobby Wilson. Complicating matters: He had given Max Kepler the day as designated hitter, and he was reluctant to send him to the outfield, thus forcing his pitchers into the lineup.
So Morrison went to first base in the eighth, moving Miguel Sano across the diamond to third, and Adrianza from third base to left field, where he had played once this season and 17 times last year. Eddie Rosario went from left field to right.