Wild is the only word for what the KC Royals did to snap Houston’s 11-game winning streak Tuesday night.
Simply having a tie game in the ninth inning was something that seemed pretty far-fetched for the KC Royals after going down 7-1 Tuesday night to the Houston Astros.
Little and less has been going the KC Royals way of late. The losses are piling up. Injuries have hit the best players at the worst times. Some fans want the team to keep the core together, at all costs, while others are adamant that the roster should be torn down, the sooner the better.
2015 seems like a long time ago, is what I’m saying. That everything could devolve to this point, this quickly, seems so… unfair. This franchise went nearly 30 years between extended bouts of contention, only to watch everything start coming apart after 48 short months.
So it was nice for June 6, 2017 to be a night for some KC Royals to turn back the clock. They even threw in a wild, 9-7 comeback win for old time’s sake.
Alex Gordon got it started in the third inning, hitting his season’s first home run. Gordon has been atrocious by every objective measure, with the exception of some pretty good defense.
So watching him take David Paulino out to center, then get the silent treatment like a rookie just up from Omaha was a rare—and needed—moment of levity for the KC Royals. Our very own Jackson Stone even called it yesterday in our Twitter group.
(This came after the Astros staked Paulino to a 3-0 lead on a Jose Altuve sac fly and a two-run single by Yuri Gurriel.)
Eric Hosmer is a man who has quietly put together a very good last five weeks after a disastrous April. That’ll do him some good this offseason when it comes time to cash in, too. For Tuesday’s purposes, it equated to a 3-for-5 day, a pair of doubles and run scored on Salvador Perez’s RBI double.
(Don’t look now, but Hosmer’s hitting .315 on the season and .377 since the start of May.)
(Also, Perez’s run made it a 7-2 game. Jake Junis didn’t last long in this one. I don’t want to get into it.)
Hosmer doubled again in the sixth and our old buddy Mike Moustakas brought him in on a line drive single to cut it to a four-run deficit. Corn-stalking their way across the scoreboard over the final three innings wouldn’t cut it—the KC Royals had to have a big inning.
That’s precisely what they got in the eighth inning. Salvy, Moose and Cheslor Cuthbert strung together three straight singles, with Perez coming across to score. After Alcides Escobar struck out (of course) for out two, Gordon walked to bring up Whitley David Merrifield.
As we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, WDM came through, clearing the bases to tie the game up.
Future Six-Time All-Star Reliever Mike Minor stomped out any potential Astros rally in the top of the ninth. And it looked certain we were headed for extra innings after Lorenzo Cain and Hosmer grounded out to start the home half.
Then Perez singled, part of a three-hit night of his own.
Then Moustakas cranked his second career walk-off home run.
Six-run deficit, erased.
4-for-5, three-RBI game and team-high 15th home run for Moose.
I’ve lost the ability to type more than one sentence at a time.
After Junis was chased early, you have to give a ton of credit to the bullpen—they got outs, kept the deficit in check and held the fort. Minor, Kevin McCarthy and Travis Wood combined for 5.1 innings and scattered five total hits.
(A grateful fanbase agreed to remember for up to 24 hours that Travis Wood had a productive outing before returning to rightfully bashing him for his many, many outings where he is garbage.)
The KC Royals good fortune snapped an 11-game winning streak for the Astros, who remain baseball’s best team. And a series split—perhaps even a win—remains on the table for the Royals.
A marquee pitching matchup looms Wednesday night, with Jason Vargas seeking to deny Dallas Keuchel his 10th victory of the year. First pitch is slated for 7:15 p.m. (CT) at Kauffman. If it’s half as exciting as the final two innings of Tuesday’s game were… well, fractions aren’t my thing but it’ll be a pretty good time.