10. Eighth-Inning Wild Card Rally
It’s the rally before the rally before the rally. But without this rally, there might not have been the subsequent ones.
The Kansas City Royals entered the eighth inning of the American League Wild Card Game with a 7-3 deficit. Oakland ace Jon Lester came back out for the frame, and the Royals made him pay.
Alcides Escobar singled, stole second and scored on a Lorenzo Cain single. Then Cain stole second and Eric Hosmer walked to end Lester’s night. Luke Gregerson came on in relief, and the Royals made him pay, too.
Oakland ace Jon Lester came back out for the frame, and the Royals made him pay.
Billy Butler greeted him with a run-scoring single before Terrance Gore game on to run for him. Gore stole second to put the tying run in scoring position with one out. Alex Gordon walked to load the bases.
A wild pitch brought home Hosmer and sent Gore to third. Gordon stole second—the fourth steal of the inning. But Salvador Perez‘s miserable night continued with a strikeout. Gregerson followed with a punchout of Omar Infante to end the rally.
Leaving the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position felt like a major wasted opportunity. However, the three-run outburst pulled the Kansas City Royals close enough that just a single ninth-inning run would be enough to send the game to extra innings.
The team—of course—pulled that off, making Sean Doolittle pay, as well. There was a third rally a few innings later, but we’ll get to that in due time.