After waiting 29 years, Royals fans had no problem with playing a few extra innings to decide their first playoff game since the 1985 team won game seven of the World Series.
Salvador Perez singled home the winning run with two outs in the 12th inning, giving the Royals a thrilling 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics in the American League wild-card game.
Watch the game winning hit (video/TBS, MLB)
The A’s raced out to a 7-3 lead by the sixth inning, but the Royals countered with three runs in the eighth. Nori Aoki’s sacrifice fly off Sean Doolittle in the ninth forced extra innings. DH Brandon Moss hit two homers, one in the first off James Shields and then what looked like the dagger, a three-run shot of Yordano Ventura in a five-run sixth. Moss finished with five RBIs.
When I say the Royals stole this game from the A’s, I mean it. They literally stole their way to a win. They led the majors with 153 stolen bases and added seven more in this game.
Alcides Escobar started the rally in the eighth with an single and a stolen base. Lorenzo Cain, who put the Royals up 3-2 earlier, drove him in with a single and also stole second base. After Eric Hosmer walked, Jon Lester was pulled from the game and Luke Gregerson gave up a single to Billy Butler scoring Cain. Pinch-runner Terrance Gore stole second on the next pitch and a wild pitch from Gregerson’s scored Hosmer, but Salvador Perez and Omar Infante struck out leaving the tying run at third.
Josh Willingham, batting for Mike Moustakas, opened the ninth inning with a single off Sean Doolittle. Jarrod Dyson ran for Willingham, was bunted to second and stole third. Aoki hit a long out to right field, a sacrifice fly to tie the score, 7-7.
In the 12th, Hosmer tripled off center fielder Sam Fuld’s glove and Christian Colon hit a chopper toward third that Josh Donaldson couldn’t handle, tying the game at 8-8 tie. Fernando Abad came onto pitch and got Alex Gordon to foul out. Bob Melvin went to starter Jason Hammel, and Colon stole second. Perez ripped a single down the third-base line scoring Colon and sending the Royals out west to face Albert Pujols and the L.A. Angels in their American League Division Series.