Salvador Perez delivered a two-out single in the bottom of the 12th inning to cap a 9-8 victory for the Kansas City Royals over the Oakland Athletics Tuesday night in the American League Wild Card game.
The atmosphere in Kauffman Stadium was electric, as 40,000-plus fans cheered the Royals on in the team’s first postseason game in 29 years. Not only did the Royals survive the high stakes outing, their fans were treated to a thrilling game.
Quick Take: The Athletics, who went 10-16 in September due to an inability to produce runs on a consistent basis, jumped out to 2-0 lead in the first inning after a 426-foot homer by designated hitter Brandon Moss. Moss had a strong game at the plate, finishing with two homers and five RBI.
The teams traded momentum, but the Athletics eventually established a 7-3 lead heading into the eighth inning. That’s when the fun started. The Royals rallied with an exciting brand of small-ball.
Shortstop Alcides Escobar got the inning started with a single, then stole second. Center fielder Lorenzo Cain drove in Escobar with a single to center, then stole second himself. After first baseman Eric Hosmer drew a walk, designated hitter Billy Butler singled to drive in Cain and trim the deficit to 7-5. Hosmer eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-6. Even though there were no mammoth home runs hit, the inning highlighted a style of play that has been a trademark of Kansas City’s throughout the season.
In the bottom of the ninth, right fielder Norichika Aoki hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game and send it to extras.
After Oakland took an 8-7 lead in the top of the 12th, Kansas City answered yet again. Hosmer, who seemed to be involved in all of the momentum swings in the Royals’ favor, hit a ringing triple off the wall before coming home on an infield single from Christian Colon. And in typical Royals fashion, Colon stole second, setting the stage for Perez’s walk-off winner.
Speed Kills: The Royals led the major leagues in stolen bases during the regular season, and that aggressive approach on the base paths was pivotal in this game. In all, Kansas City swiped seven bases, which is tied with the 1907 Chicago Cubs and 1975 Cincinatti Reds for the most in postseason history, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
What’s next? The Royals look to continue their march through the postseason against the Los Angeles Angels in the AL Division Series. The season series between both clubs was tied 3-3. It will be interesting to see if the Royals can keep the magic going as the underdogs against the Angels. Game 1 starts on Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET on TBS.
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