The Royals were lined up for their ninth straight loss after a very impressive major league debut from the Cardinals highly touted prospect Michael Wacha, but Jeff Francoeur and Eric Hosmer delivered clutch ninth inning hits for a 4-2 win that finally came after a four hour, 32 minute rain delay.
The Royals were able to win George Brett’s debut as interim hitting coach.
AUDIO Brett talks about his approach to hitting (2:00)
The teams got back on the field and finished off the game that ended at 3:14 a.m. Umpire crew chief Joe West showed great patience by not initiating a rule clause in the final season meeting between teams that would have wiped out the top of the ninth and declared the Cardinals 2-1 winners.
Royals manager Ned Yost praised West and the grounds crew for hanging in there.
“I wasn’t sure we were going to get that game in, and to lose in that fashion after coming back in the ninth inning wouldn’t have been right,” Yost said. “I credit Joe West for hanging in there. I credit their grounds crew for getting the field playable.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny obviously pushed hard for the game to be called, saying the field was in bad shape and he was concerned for his players’ safety…and of course the “W.”
Down 2-1 heading into the ninth, Francoeur, who was a late addition on a double switch, hit a line drive homer to left off Mitchell Boggs on the second pitch of the inning to tie the game. It was Frenchy’s second of the year. After Alex Gordon, drew a walk, Boggs was lifted and replaced by Victor Marte who hit Alcides Escobar with a pitch on the wrist, then bounced a throw into third on a sac bunt attempt by David Lough, loading the bases for Eric Hosmer, who bounced a double into right field, scoring two.
That’s when the rain came down heavy, prompting the delay.
Edward Mujica was not available after pitching three straight nights and neither was Trevor Rosenthal, so Matheny went with the struggling Boggs to try to close the game before the rains hit. When play finally resumed, Joe Kelly got Miguel Tejada to ground into a double play and a then got a fly out to end the ninth. Greg Holland pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save. The final six outs took 12 minutes to complete after the long delay.
For the Royals, it was worth the wait.