A bases loaded walk to Alcides Escobar in the bottom of the 8th inning broke the 1-1 tie to give the KC Royals the 2-1 victory over visiting Texas. With the win, the Royals moved to 2.5 games back of an American League Wild Card spot. The Cleveland Indians won in a rain-shortened seven innings and took over the top Wild Card spot (TB and Baltimore are currently tied in the 15th inning).
Both teams traded single runs in the 2nd inning. The Royals could have scored more with two on base and nobody out, but Mike Moustakas hit into a double play. Justin Maxwell salvaged the inning by delivering an RBI double.
Royals starter Ervin Santana only was in trouble once more and that was in the fifth, when the Rangers put together back-to-back hits to put runners on the corners with two outs. After a stolen base put two runners in scoring position, Santana then walked Ian Kinsler to load the bases. He would rebound to strike out Elvis Andrus as Royals fans breathed a sigh of relief.
Santana was pulled from the game with one out and a man on base in the eighth. Luke Hochevar came in and retired the two batters he faced.
That brings us to the bottom of the eighth and the Royals rally all started with two outs. Back-to-back singles put runners on the corners for pinch-hitter David Lough. After Moose stole second base (just his second stolen base of the season), Lough walked to load the bases. That ended Rangers reliever Jason Frasor‘s night and in came the newly activated from the DL Neftali Feliz.
Feliz faced just one batter and walked Escobar on four straight pitches to force in the go ahead run.
Greg Holland struck out the first two batters he faced in the ninth before getting a fly out to centerfield to end the game. Holland picked up his 44th save of the season and needed just 11 pitches to earn it.
*Despite a hugely meaningful game in late September and the team honoring its minor leaguers on Futures Night, the Royals could not draw 22,000 fans to Kauffman Stadium on Friday night.