Hoping to give fans something good to take home from the last Kauffman Stadium game of the season, the KC Royals, struck suddenly by another attack of awful pitching, blew a 2-1 fifth-inning lead into a million pieces Sunday. Seattle punished starter Max Castillo and relievers Amir Garrett and Jose Cuas for eight runs on four hits, four walks and two hit batters, and left the inning leading 9-2.
Not satisfied with their new seven-run lead, the Mariners added two more in the sixth. And after Vinnie Pasquantino struck out to begin Kansas City’s half of the inning, it seemed an appropriate time for manager Mike Matheny to start emptying his bench.
He didn’t. And the Royals, triggering fond “Keep the line moving” memories of better, but sadly past, days, created mayhem of their own—13 batters, four singles, five walks, two doubles, and a home run later, they’d scored 11 runs and led 13-11. Oft-criticized Ryan O’Hearn, starting what might have been his last Kauffman Stadium game as a Royal, put Kansas City ahead 12-11 with a two-run double to right before the almost equally-criticized Hunter Dozier singled in Kansas City’s 13th run.
It was an incredible inning, the club’s biggest of the year, but somehow you knew, deep down or not so deep down, that those 11 runs wouldn’t be enough for a team prone to finding new ways to lose. The feeling intensified when the M’s pulled within a run in the seventh; after all, no lead is truly safe, and no situation free from sudden destruction, with the 2022 Royals.
But at the end of the day, as late afternoon shadows began enveloping a ballpark closing its gates to baseball until 2023, the Royals did give the fans something good—providing another all-too-short glimpse of how nice the future might be, the club sent them home happy with a 13-12 win after Dylan Coleman held Seattle scoreless in the eighth and Scott Barlow shut the M’s down in the ninth.
This one was as good a win as Kansas City has seen all year.
How did the Royals pull it off?
The improbable, magical sixth inning that gave the KC Royals their win.
For anyone who missed it, here’s how the Kansas City sixth went down.
Pasquantino, who finished the day with two hits, struck out.
Edward Olivares, whose two singles raised his average to .299, walked.
Rookie Michael Massey, looking more and more like next season’s second baseman, followed with his third homer of the year to make it 11-4 with one out.
Drew Waters singled to load the bases.
MJ Melendez’s grounder to short became the second out, but O’Hearn scored to cut the Seattle lead to six.
Bobby Witt Jr.’s sun-field double drove in Dozier and Melendez. 11-7 Mariners.
Salvador Perez walked.
A walk to Pasquantino loaded the bases again.
Olivares singled, Witt scored, and the bases remained packed. 11-8 Mariners.
Massey’s two-run single, a bloop over third base, gave him his third and fourth RBIs of the day and cut the lead to one.
O’Hearn’s double drove in Olivares and Massey. 12-11 KC.
Dozier’s single scored Kyle Isbel. He was gunned down trying for second, but the Royals led 13-11.
Want to see it all?
That’s how Kansas City, with a little help from Coleman and Barlow to close it out after the seventh, won this game.
It was a perfect way to finish a week of change and the home campaign.
The Royals finish 39-42 at home and have Monday off before beginning their final road trip of the season Tuesday.