Jul 11, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Nori Aoki (23) hits a double against the Detroit Tigers in the third inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Nori Aoki Gives Royals Walkoff 2-1 Win in 14th Inning

The Kansas City Royals had five hits in fourteen innings. Greg Holland blew the ninth save of his career. Somehow, despite both those happenings, the Royals came away with a 2-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians courtesy of Nori Aoki‘s walkoff single in the fourteenth inning.

Danny Duffy found himself matched up against noted Royals nemesis Corey Kluber, who was dominant against Kansas City his last time out. Not much changed tonight, as Kluber kept the Royals without a baserunner through the first six innings in what looked like it would be a long night for the offense.

However, the game remained scoreless as Duffy matched Kluber nearly pitch for pitch. The Indians did not manage a baserunner either until Carlos Santana singled to lead off the top of the fifth. A walk gave the Indians the first possible scoring threat of the night, but a fielder’s choice and two strikeouts allowed Duffy to escape unscathed.

Kluber, meanwhile, retired the first nineteen batters he faced before Omar Infante hit a line drive up the middle for the Royals first hit of the night. Infante, however, was thrown out trying to steal second as Alex Gordon struck out, as Kluber had still faced the minimum through seven innings.

The Royals finally got on the board in the eighth on a bizarre play. With one out, Mike Moustakas hit a flare down the left field line that hit Ryan Raburn in the wrist as he made a diving attempt at the ball. As Moustakas pulled up heading into second, Raburn spiked the throw in, sending the ball towards left field. With no one around due to the shift, Moustakas took off, rounding the bases as he scored on the error to give the Royals the 1-0 lead.

Greg Holland, pitching for the third consecutive day, came in to try to preserve the lead. Santana led off the inning with a base hit, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a groundout sent Santana to third, Yan Gomes lined a hanging slider up the middle to tie the game at 1-1. Another base hit gave the Indians runners at first and second, but Holland managed to get Jose Ramirez to ground out to end the threat.

The game then turned into a battle of the bullpens. Neither team was able to get a runner past second base as both bullpens did an excellent job, matching each zero on the scoreboard. The Royals appeared to have a chance in the bottom of the eleventh with two outs, as Raul Ibanez doubled and Nori Aoki followed with what was ruled to be an infield single. However, after review, the call was reversed and the game continued on.

Nori Aoki got his revenge in the bottom of the fourteenth inning. Lorenzo Cain led off with an infield single and stole second. After Danny Valencia struck out, Aoki flared a base hit down the left field line, plating Cain and giving the Royals the victory. Aaron Crow earned the win by pitching a scoreless top of the inning, striking out all three batters he faced.

Omar Infante was the only member of the Royals to reach base more than once, going 1-4 with a walk.

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