Absent from the playoffs for three decades, the Kansas City Royals showed a never say die streak that brought a city to its feet 5 years ago.
The Kansas City Royals had not seen a playoff game except for on television since winning the last three games against the cross-state rival St. Louis Cardinals in 1985. A few brushes with a chance to qualify followed by years of futility had fallen upon Kansas City.
A young group of players with something to prove propelled KC to an 89-73 record and fell short of winning the AL Central by one game of Detroit. They did have a one-game lead on the Oakland A’s which put the Wild Card game in the friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium and that would prove to be pivotal.
Taking the mound for the Royals was James Shields, who was brought over in a trade with Tampa Bay the year before. He helped anchor the staff leading the majors with 34 games started and posting a 14-8 record.
The first inning did not go according to plan though, as Coco Crisp singled and with two outs Brandon Moss smoked a line drive over the fence to give Oakland a 2-run lead. The Royals did cut the lead in half during their half of the inning off of Jon Lester as Nori Aoki stole second base with two outs and was brought home on a single by Billy Butler.
Both pitchers held the other team scoreless in the 2nd inning and Shields repeated that in the 3rd. Lester wobbled in the bottom of that inning giving up hits to Mike Moustakas, who scored on a Lorenzo Cain double and then Hosmer who chased Cain home with a single.
The Royals head to the 4th with a 3-2 lead and a raucous crowd ready to explode. Both clubs go three and out and head to the 5th with Shields in cruise control.