We've been saying for the better part of two weeks that, "This game (or series) is the most important game (or series) the Royals have played in more than 20 years." Tonight was another one of those games. Tonight was a win.
And it was huge.
There was no way the Royals could survive in the Wild Card hunt without taking two of three from Cleveland. Really, a sweep was necessary, but two out of three is obviously second best. They remain on the fringes of the hunt. Where they've been for the last month or so. The familiar refrain is time is running out. And that's very true. But the team is still in the hunt.
The Royals jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first frame thanks to a nifty two out rally. An Eric Hosmer single, a Billy Butler walk and a Salvador Perez double plated the first two runs. A good throw would have nailed Butler at the plate, but I enjoyed the aggressive base running in that situation. You don't want to gift outs, but you do want to put the appropriate pressure on the defense to make the play.
The third run scored on a wild pitch after Perez had advanced to third on the earlier play at the plate.
Things got dicey in the third when Jarrod Dyson kicked a ball in center, but the Indians were more than happy to give an out back to the Royals with a sac bunt.
The wacky came in the sixth with Alex Gordon on first and Alcides Escobar on third. Gordon broke for second, got caught in what could only be described as an epic rundown when Escobar finally decided to go home. Except Escobar didn't really sell his break for home and the throw came to third. Then Escobar dashed home, belly flopped under an attempted tag from Yan Gomes and slid headfirst across the plate.
"Escobar just tricked Gomes and his jock was hangin'
--- Rex Hudler
There you go. It was a Royals kind of night.