The Royals mount a comeback
For the first seven-and-a-half innings, the game was hardly memorable. I've watched the Royals lose plenty of times, and while it was cool to see former Royal Carlos Beltrán homer for Houston in the fourth, nothing to that point stood out as exceptional. It looked like the Dippin' Dots and souvenir mini-helmet I bought for the kids would be the highlights of the night.
But that changed in the bottom of the eighth.
The Royals had gradually chipped away at Houston's lead. Hosmer scored in the bottom of the fourth when he and Perez hit back-to-back doubles. In the sixth, Hosmer doubled again and, after Perez singled, Moustakas knocked Hosmer in. But he and Salvy were stranded on first and third, and Royals fans could be forgiven for believing that this night's mountain was just a bit too high to climb.
With KC trailing 7-3, Hosmer struck out to begin the eighth. But Perez and Moustakas followed with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners. After a pitching change, Cheslor Cuthbert singled to score Perez and move Moustakas to second.
Alcides Escobar then struck out, making the odds of a rally look slim. But unlike more recent editions of the club, the Royals of that era possessed more than a little magic. It's difficult to explain to someone who wasn't around to see it, but rarely did it feel like those teams were out of a game.
Gordon walked to load the bases and set the stage for Whit Merrifield. Down 1-2 in the count, he roped a line drive down the left field line. The ball was right in front of us until it disappeared into the corner, and when Merrifield hit it, I thought he had a chance for an inside-the-park home run. That turned out to be overly optimistic, but it was a bases-clearing double and the game was tied 7-7.
Jorge Bonifacio struck out to end the inning and reliever Mike Minor didn't allow the Orioles a run in their half of the ninth.
Now, Kauffman Stadium felt ready to explode. The crowd, far from a sellout but sounding much, much bigger, could sense something big was at hand.
Cain led off with a groundout to third. Hosmer grounded out to second. I was sure Perez was going to be the hero with a walk-off homer, but he kept the Royals alive for Moustakas with a single.
Moose stepped in, took a strike, then launched a moonshot into the right field stands to send everyone home happy with a 9-7 Royal win. Against the backdrop of an actual full moon, no less.
Who says baseball isn't poetic?