Royals Salvation - 12" x 16" Print
The American League’s second iteration of the Wild Card playoff game was about as wild as a game can be. After one inning, the A’s led the Royals, 2-1. Then the Royals took the lead back. Then they lost it. Fast forward a bit — KC was down 7-3 in the 8th inning of a win-or-go-home playoff game. Their win-expectancy was down to just four percent.
Then, the Royals showed their magic. They sent eight men to the plate in the 8th, but the rally was killed by back-to-back strikeouts. Three men crossed the plate, but the Royals, now down just a run, still had work to do. Greg Holland, the Royals’ shut-down closer, came on and worked a shaky, but serviceable 9th inning — he let the Athletics load the bases, but got out of the jam.
Kansas City played with a sense of urgency in the bottom of the 9th, after all, it was score-or-go-home time. Josh Willingham lead off the frame with a base hit and was lifted for the speedster Jarrod Dyson. Dyson moved to second on a double and used his wheels to steal third base with one out. One pitch later, he was trotting home on a sac fly. Tie ballgame. Extra innings coming up — as if the game needed any more drama.
In the 12th, the A’s put one run on the board. It wasn't enough. KC scored twice in the bottom half to advance into the ALDS. The Royals’ winning run was the back-and-forth affair’s fourth lead change.
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