KC Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas did not start the Thursday afternoon finale at Kauffman Stadium against the Seattle Mariners. However, he ended up the hero, as the Royals won in walk off fashion, 7-6 in 13 innings.
Moose stepped to the plate for the fourth time in the game (he pinch-hit in the sixth) to lead off the 13th inning against Mariners reliever Chance Ruffin. He took the fourth pitch of the at-bat over the right field fence for his 11th home run of the season. Whatever was left of the slim crowd at the K began celebrating the first walk off homer of the season (and it came right after he hit one foul).
The Royals did not think they would need 13 innings to defeat the Mariners when they came back to take a 6-5 lead and handed the ball over to closer Greg Holland in the ninth. However, for the second straight game, the M’s hit a home run in the ninth. Last night, it was Kendrys Morales‘ two-run shot off Aaron Crow that gave them the victory.
This afternoon, it was pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez who tied the game with two outs in the ninth. Holland started him off with a fastball, but Ibanez blasted the fifth straight slider into the right field seats to tie the game at 6-6. It was Holland‘s first blown save in 31 save opportunities.
The way the game started many did not think it would have a chance to end the way it did. Jeremy Guthrie put them in a 3-0 hole in the very first inning. Morales drove in one run with a two out single before Justin Smoak followed with a two-run home run (his first in about a month). Seattle tacked on single runs in the third and fourth to take a 5-0 lead.
But the Royals fought back.
Alex Gordon hit his team-leading 17th homer in the fifth, a two-run shot, to get the Royals on the board. Three batters later, Salvador Perez delivered an RBI single to cut the deficit to 5-3. Perez would leave the game after that due to dizziness (he took a foul ball off his face mask earlier in the game and he has not been off the concussion DL that long).
In the seventh, the Royals tacked on three more runs to take the 6-5 lead. They strung together four straight hits (two singles and two doubles) off M’s reliever Brandon Maurer to chase him from the game. In came Charlie Furbush, who allowed a Justin Maxwell sac fly that gave them the lead.
Outside of Holland allowing the game-tying homer, the Royals bullpen was VERY good. Lefties Francisley Bueno and Will Smith both threw a perfect inning with two strikeouts prior to Holland entering the game. Tim Collins got into a bit of trouble in his second inning of work, but Kelvin Herrera escaped in the 11th. Herrera started the 12th, but Donnie Joseph came in and got the final two outs. Joseph started the 13th, but put a runner on base and Louis Coleman threw just seven pitches to pick up the victory.
The Royals now welcome first place Detroit to town over the weekend. James Shields get the start on Friday night against Anibal Sanchez. If they want to be serious contenders for the postseason, they need to win this series.