Royals Triumph Over A's in 12 to Win AL Wild Card - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Royals Triumph Over A’s in 12 to Win AL Wild Card

Wow!!! What an AL Wild Card game. The Kansas City Royals beat the Oakland A’s 9-8 in 12 innings and now travel west to play the Los Angeles Angels in the ALDS.

This was the best game I’ve seen since Game 6 of the 2011 World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Sure there were some great games during the Red Sox run last year, but in terms of a pure game this was the best I’ve seen in awhile. 

The seven stolen bases by the Royals reminded me of when I used to watch Ron LeFlore, Tim Raines and Rodney Scott steal bases for the Montreal Expos in the early 1980’s. I felt like a kid again.

But it didn’t begin well for the Royals. Oakland got off to a 2-0 lead in the first on a home run by Brandon Moss.

K.C. scored a run in the bottom of the first on a single by Billy Butler. But Butler somehow got stranded between first and second while Alex Gordon was up. Eric Hosmer tried to score but was thrown out at the plate. 

The Royals would take a 3-2  on a double by Lorenzo Cain and a single by Hosmer. 

But the A’s took control in the sixth. After James Shields gave up a single to Sam Fuld and a walk to Josh Donaldson, Royals manager Ned Yost brought in hard throwing Yordan Ventura. But Ventura was overwhelmed and did not have his control. On a 2-0 pitch, Moss hit his second HR of the game to give Oakland a 5-3 lead. The A’s would add two more runs on singles by Derek Norris and Coco Crisp. 

Meanwhile, A’s starter Jon Lester was cruising retiring 12 out of 13 batters from the 3rd through the 7th. For a moment, it looked like he would make people forget about the Cespedes trade. But with a 7-3 lead in the 8th, the Royals ran wild stealing five bases during the inning. Alcides Escobar, Cain, Gordon, pinch runners Terrance Gore and Jarrod Dyson all stole bases. The running game would lead to Cain and Butler singling in two more runs while Hosmer scored on a wild pitch. This brought the game to 7-6. But A’s reliever Luke Gregerson reached deep down and struck out Salvador Perez and Omar Infante to end the inning. 

The Royals tied it in the 9th on a sacrifice fly by Norichika Aoki to force extra innings.

K.C. had the game winning run at third in both the 10th and 11th, but could not score. 

Oakland scored a run in the 12th on a pinch hit single by former Royal Alberto Callaspo to give the A’s an 8-7 lead. Had the score held up then Brandon Finnegan would have been charged with the loss. Finnegan, only a couple of months removed from pitching in the College World Series, had pitched 2 1/3 sensational innings. But he allowed a lead off walk to Josh Reddick who would score on Callaspo’s single.

But the Royals had other prerogatives. With one out, Hosmer hit a triple after Fuld and Jonny Gomes collided on the outfield wall. Hosmer scored on a single by Christian Colon to tie the game at 8-8. Colon then stole second to put the winning run in scoring position. After Gordon popped out on the first pitch, this brought up Perez who had been 0 for 5 and was due. He hit a ball down the third base line just beyond the reach of A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson and it was all over.

This game was emblematic of the A’s season. They led most of the way, but couldn’t hold onto the lead when it was late. The A’s did make it into the post-season, but I wonder if the Callaspo trade will cost longtime A’s GM Billy Beane, Mr. Moneyball, his job. 

The Royals are the anti-Moneyball team. They swing at the first pitch, sacrifice and steal bases. When it works this brand of baseball is very exciting. 

I don’t think the Royals will overcome the Angels, but they will be competitive. Game 1 of Royals-Angels and Tigers-Orioles begins on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the NL Wild Card game between the Giants and Pirates takes place tomorrow night.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the post-season, but it will be damn well impossible to top this game. 



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