KC Royals Wild Card Win Transformed Franchise Two Years Ago
In the top of the 10th, Ned Yost handed the ball to rookie lefty reliever Brandon Finnegan. The Royals had drafted Finnegan in the first round of the 2014 June draft. He later became the first player in major-league history to play in both the College World Series and the Major-League World Series in the same season.
On this night, Yost was asking a rookie to hold down the A’s to help a team that hadn’t won a post-season game in 29 years stave off elimination.
Finnegan didn’t disappoint. He held the A’s scoreless over the next two innings, striking out three. Unfortunately, the KC Royals also failed to score in the next two innings, despite advancing the winning run to second with one out in both frames.
The game continued into the 12th. Finnegan still remained on the mound to pitch one more inning.
The A’s Take The Lead
However, Finnegan walked Josh Reddick to begin the 12th. Jed Lowrie laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the lead run to second. That’s when Yost pulled Finnegan in favor of 38-year-old veteran reliever Jason Frasor.
Oakland inserted former Kansas City Royals infielder Alberto Callaspo into the game as a pinch hitter. Reddick advanced to third on a wild pitch. Callaspo then did what the Royals failed to do in the 10th and 11th innings: he stroked a single to score a runner from second base.
Yes, the run quieted the crowd. Everyone knew that the KC Royals were in danger of losing despite their historic comeback. But, at home, I truly felt that it wasn’t over. Not after the rallies in the eighth and ninth innings.