Royals Win Thriller in First Wildcard Game in 29 Years
Wow. What a game, huh?
I am really at a loss for words right now. No matter what happens in the ALDS, nobody can say anything bad about this team. They fought their hearts out to be where they’re at, and they deserve it. I am proud of this team, and for the first time in my life, I can look at people and announce, “I root for the Royals, man.” And not be ashamed.
This game had it all: An early-game deficit, a comeback, a Yosting, heartbreak, another comeback, more heartbreak, and finally a very Royal victory.
Things got off to a less-than-ideal start for the Royals and James Shields when he gave up a two-run home run to Brandon Moss in the first inning. After that, Shields cruised until he hit a wall in the sixth inning. That’s when things started spiraling downhill. With Josh Donaldson and Sam Fuld on with nobody out, Ned Yost went to the bullpen. Taking Shields out wasn’t the problem. It’s who he put in that may very well cost him his job. With two on and nobody out, Yordano Ventura came in to try and clean up the mess that Shields had left for him.
Long story short: Yordano Ventura did not get out of the mess, and the A’s put up five runs in that sixth inning. Ventura went a third of an inning, and gave up two earned runs. James Shields had a very quality start. Looking at the box score, Shields had another below average postseason start, but to fully appreciate how well Shields pitched, you had to witness it. Shields went five innings, working into the sixth, and gave up four earned runs.
The offense tonight was like nothing I’d ever seen before. They were down by two, they came back. They were down by four, they came back. They were down by one in the final inning of the game, (twice) and they came back.
In the first inning, it was Alcides Escobar that got things going for the team. Escobar was moved to second on a groundout by Nori Aoki, and eventually came around to score on a Billy Butler RBI-single. Kansas City put two more runs on the board with a Lorenzo Cain double to score Mike Moustakas, and an Eric Hosmer single to score Cain. At that point, most people thought that the game was over. Those people were dead wrong. We still had nine innings to play!
Deflated, and down by four runs, the Boys in Blue mounted a major comeback in the eighth inning, and finally tied it in the ninth. In the twelfth inning, KC found themselves on the brink of elimination yet again. Facing a one-run deficit, Eric Hosmer stepped up to the plate, and smacked a leadoff triple to left field. Rookie, utility infielder Christian Colon singled in Hosmer, and stole second base to put himself in scoring position for Salvador Perez. Perez had been hitless in the game to that point, but he wasn’t hitless after that. Salvador Perez delivered the game-winning hit, and the Kansas City Royals walked it off.
The player of the game, for me at least, was Brandon Finnegan. Finnegan pitched 2.1 innings and only gave up one earned run. “Finny” as they call him was pitching in the College World Series four months ago, for crying out loud. Brandon Finnegan is fearless, and might even be Dayton Moore’s best draft pick. How crazy would it be for Finny to pitch in the College World Series, and four months later be in the World Series? Just think about that for a second.
Tonight was a roller coaster of a game that played with the emotions of thousands, millions even. With today’s win, there is no reason they cannot beat Anaheim later this week. The Royals are a force to be reckoned with. Get ready, Kansas City. You deserve it, this organization deserves it. With that, I officially bid you a happy October.