Kansas City Royals race to miracle finish in 4-3 win
By Alan Todd
Sep 15, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pinch runnerTerrance Gore
(0) is congratulated by Kansas City Royals left fielderAlex Gordon
(4) after scoring the winning run against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City won the game 4-3. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
That’s what speed do.
If you were channel switching tonight, watching the Kansas City Royals flounder through seven innings, down 3-1 to the Chicago White Sox, you had hope.
Certainly not hope that the Royals would somehow score two runners from second base in the bottom of the ninth inning, each on plays that the ball never left the infield. No. Really? Let’s be realistic.
Your hope was watching Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins dink a ball over the third baseman’s head to score two in the bottom the eighth against the Detroit Tigers, tying what was a 6-0 game at 6-6.
Yes, hope really rested on the Twins pulling out the impossible comeback. Surely you weren’t betting on a Royals’ comeback. The Royals had shown no life. They had two hits through six innings.
And when the Torii Hunter led of the top of the ninth with a solo shot, followed by a blast by Miguel Cabrera, it looked inevitable that the Tigers would win (which they did) and the Royals would slumber their way to falling 2-1/2 games back of the Tigers.
That is, until the wheels started in motion for the Boys in Blue in the bottom of the ninth.
Down 3-2 with one out in the ninth, Mike Moustakas doubled down the left field line. No, it wasn’t a “shift everyone to the right” doinker-double for a guy who always pulls to right. It was an honest to goodness shot down the line. That was the first tip off that something miraculous was about to happen. Jarrod Dyson came in to pinch run.
But then, Alcides Escobar grounded to third. Dyson had to stay put. It was up to Nori Aoki, who was 3-for-3 in the game.
Dyson took off. The pitch from Jake Petricka bounced in the dirt and shot away as Dyson rushed around from second and scored the tying run.
Aoki, perhaps feeling deprived of his chance for heroics by the wild pitch, slapped a double down the line inside the bag at third.
You gotta give Manager Ned Yost his due here. If it worked once, why not again?
Ned inserted Terrance Gore to pinch run for Nori Aoki. Gore took off for third and Lorenzo Cain chopped a ball up the middle.
Slowly. It. Bounced.
Swiftly. Gore. Sped.
The middle infielders seemingly took turns bobbling Cain’s chopper and Gore, as his speedy mentor had just done, raced around from second and scored.
Petricka (1-4, 2.61) took the loss. Wade Davis (9-2, 0.69), who pitched a scoreless ninth, picked up the victory.
James Shields was anything but sharp, that being defined by his last two starts. Monday night he gave up three runs off ten hits in seven innings. Still, good enough to keep a moribund offense close enough.
And when Omar Infante singled in Eric Hosmer in the seventh to make it 3-1, and Alex Gordon singled in Aoki in the eighth to make it 3-2, the table was set for a miracle finish.
In the end, it was Dyson and Gore from second, and the Royals won by a nose.
That’s what speed do.
NOTABLES: Billy Butler was back in the designated hitter role batting seventh. He went 0-for-3 with a walk. Nori Aoki was perfect, batting 4-for-4 with a walk. Kelvin Herrera gave up two hits in his inning of work, but danced around trouble and pitched a scoreless eighth. The Detroit Tigers maintain a 1-1/2 game lead over the Kansas City Royals for the division. The Anaheim Angels were leading the Seattle Mariners 8-0 into the sixth inning Monday night. The Royals began the night one game ahead of the Mariners for the second Wild Card berth. The Royals picked up a half game on the Oakland Athletics, who were idle tonight, for the first Wild Card berth, inching to a game behind the A’s.
NEXT: Chris Bassitt (0-1, 4.73) vs at TBA starter for the Royals. (Now, it was mentioned on telecast tonight that Liam Hendriks would be the starter. Is it possible…could it be…that the rookie, Brandon Finnegan (0-0, 0.00) might be called into action? Possibly?