The AL Wild Card game should have been a pitcher’s duel, but turned out to be a slug fest which eventually ended as the Kansas City Royals got a 12th inning, walk-off single from Salvador Perez, advancing them to the ADLS on a 9-8 win over the Oakland Athletics, completing their collapse which began almost two months ago.
This was another chapter, the final one, in a rough ending for a team that looked like the best in Baseball until the All-Star game. Then came a trade that re-shuffled the team, and sent them spiraling down towards an exit. They barely made it into the postseason, but managed to drop three leads as their bullpen disappointed them just when they were able to get a big night from almost the entire lineup.
For the Royals, who’ll play against the Angles in a best of five series, this is the first time in the playoffs since 1985. The Royals went on to win the World Series back then, which seems unlikely now, but momentum has a strange way of changing things once it gets going. The Royals seemed to be buried more than once in this game, but there was a special kind of something in the air that kept their season a bit longer.
The A’s took the lead first as Brandon Moss hit a two-run homer in the 1st inning to take the 2-0 lead, but the Royals pounced right back with a Billy Butler RBI single in the first inning, followed by Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer in the third to give the Royals their first lead in the game. Jon Lester was brought in to shine in these moments, but the two-time World Series champion allowed six runs in 6.1 innings, although the loss wasn’t written next to his name.
The Athletics came back, once again with Moss playing the leading role. He hit another home run, this time scoring two and also himself. He finished the game with two homers and five RBIs. The A’s had 13 hits and were 4-of-9 with runners in scoring positions. They still happened to be the inferior team when it came to hitting and making an out at the right time. Maybe it has something to do with Geovany Soto, the starting catcher, leaving the game in the first inning. Derek Norris did have an RBI single, yet the pitching was off for most of the game.
The A’s took the 7-3 lead, but the Royals came back one more: Cain with another RBI, Butler with another one as well, a wild pitch from Luke Gregerson helped Hosmer reach home plate and a Norichika Aoki sacrifice fly resulted in another run, with the game tied at 7-7 in the ninth inning, sending the game into extra innings.
The A’s took the lead in the 12th: Pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo got one off of Brandon Finnegan. Jason Frasor came on to finish the job and despite giving up one hit, ended up with the win. How? Because Dan Otero stayed on the mound too long, leading to rookie Christian Colon scoring an RBI after a triple from Hosmer, and the finishing touch was given by Perez with his single, scoring Colon, and sending the Athletics home.