Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Game of the Year
This is the game that brought a 29-year playoff drought to an end. It’s the game that eventually led to the Wild Card game, the ALDS, the ALCS, and the World Series. Jeremy Guthrie pitched masterfully, shutting out the White Sox for 7 innings while striking out 6, and a 3-run first inning was all he needed for support. This game was great not because of any on-field drama or tension, but because it transformed grown men and women into puddles of joyous tears, and sparked the first of several champagne-soaked parties.
Where the game above lacked suspense, this game overflowed with it. The White Sox raced out to a 3-0 lead after 3 innings, and the Royals could not seem to figure out how to hit John Danks. Then in the 7th, Omar Infante drove in Eric Hosmer. Gordon picked up another RBI in the 8th inning, and that led to the unbridled chaos of the 9th. Mike Moustakas hit a 1-out double, and Jarrod Dyson entered the game. He stole third base, and then kept on running thanks to a wild pitch, tying the game at 3.
When this game began, the Royals were in second place in the division. When it ended, they were in first. With the score tied at 2 in the bottom of the 7th, the Royals used a walk, a fielder’s choice, a groundout, and a single by Escobar to take the lead. Death by papercuts. From there, Davis and Greg Holland did what they do, and Dyson capped off the night with The Backflip Seen ‘Round the World.
This game also was in the middle of SungWoo Lee’s first visit to Kansas City, and as part of his trip, the Royals let him throw out the first pitch before the game. They also let him hang the “W” on the Hall of Fame after the game, which created one of my favorite moments of the year.
Pure, unadulterated joy.
Kings of Kauffman Royals Game of the Year: (tie) The Playoff Clincher and The SungWoo/Backflip Game