The Royals had a thrilling 6-3 Game Two victory in the American League Championship Series, giving them a 2-0 series lead. Here are some of the reactions to their comeback victory.
Eric Hosmer says the team never gives up, even when the odds seem high.
"We just never count ourselves out; we always feel like we have a chance …," first baseman Eric Hosmer said after the Royals took a 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series. "You have crazy comebacks happen, (and) it’s a thing we’ve done it before, so why not do it again?"
Ben Zobrist says the team's experience allows them to succeed when it matters most.
"You can see how the guys here respond to pressure situations -- how they look forward to that,'' said second baseman Ben Zobrist, who arrived in Kansas City from Oakland via trade in late July. "The postseason. The bright lights. Guys love that here. They just relish that opportunity and thrive in that environment. I think that's a big reason we've been successful and we're able to come back in tough situations.''
Hosmer then hit an RBI single up the middle and was told to steal second base -- against a pitcher who hadn't allowed a stolen base all season. "I saw [former Royals designated hitter] Billy Butler steal a base last year in the postseason," Hosmer said with a laugh. "I wasn't surprised at all."
Ken Rosenthal writes that thedecision was good, but also lucky.
But Kuntz's decision -- and countless decisions like it by manager Ned Yost and his coaching staff over the past two seasons -- are part of the reason the Royals are so good. The idea, Kuntz said, was to keep the slow-footed Morales out of the double play. The data supports Kuntz's claim that Morales usually hits the ball on the ground or in the air -- Morales' groundball rate in the regular season was 44.9 percent, his flyball rate 34.7 percent, his line-drive rate 20.4 percent, according to FanGraphs. To Kuntz, though, Morales' tendencies seem even more extreme. "One line drive in the last three months, I'll take my chances," the coach said, smiling.
Yet even then, his decision could have backfired.
Luke Hochevar and Danny Duffy gave the team some big relief innings to allow the rally to happen.
"Hoch was unbelievable today," Duffy said. "If it wasn’t for him, you’re looking at an entirely different ball game. He went out there and did his thing. … He should have gotten the win."
Sam Mellinger writes about Alex Gordon's road to this moment, when he punched the air after his seventh-inning double in a rare show of emotion.
Gordon held his bat in the air. He stared into the crowd. Deep breath. Shut out the noise. Pretend this is a normal at-bat. It’s a trick he learned from Kevin Seitzer, one of the six hitting coaches the Royals have employed since Gordon’s first day in the majors 8 1/2 years ago. He was a third baseman back then, a hotshot prospect who wore No. 7 and heard comparisons to George Brett before he played his first minor league game.
Baseball cities don’t get to know players like this much anymore. Few places have seen ballplayers grow and endure and conquer like Gordon. Deep breath. Stare into the crowd. Shut out the noise. Normal at bat.
"Back in my young days, I used to really feed off the crowd," he said. "Maybe I’d get too amped. Try to do too much."
Manager John Gibbons is being second-guessed for leaving starter David Price in too long.
"Just like any pitcher, when you get your third, fourth at-bat against him, you kind of get a better feel for what his pitches are doing," Martin said. "They'd seen his changeups and cutters earlier and were able to kind of fight 'em off until they got a pitch they could do something with."
"That's what good hitters do. [Gordon's] a tough guy to face when he's in the eight-hole, because he's not an eight-hole hitter," Price said. "Before he was hurt, he was a three- or four-hole [hitter]. Sometimes you have to tip your cap, and that's just baseball."
Ryan Goins took full responsibility for the seventh-inning defensive miscue that allowed a pop-fly to fall between him and Jose Bautista.
"I stuck my glove up, I thought I heard something but it wasn’t, so I didn’t go after it aggressive enough," Goins said. "It dropped and that was it. It led to a big rally by them. I just thought I heard "I got it," but it was nothing. I should have gone at it more aggressively, put my glove up like I always do, that means I got it and I just didn’t make the play."
Jose Bautista seemed to throw his teammate under the bus.
Jose Bautista not accepting any responsibility in the 7th inning miscommunication bloop hit with Goins. pic.twitter.com/pGc5p5r8jR— Tim C. (@tpc784) October 18, 2015
Bautista, was it your ball?: "I think I had a chance, and I was running to it. Someone called me off, so I peeled off."— Dave Brown (@AnswerDave) October 18, 2015
Bautista says he was taken out of context.
I challenge ANYONE to play the full tape of my post-game interview and then make your own conclusions. Nice try.— Jose Bautista (@JoeyBats19) October 18, 2015
Others are quick not to blame Goins.
If anyone is blaming Goins 4 this loss is a coward. I been in his shoes before. People make mistakes its part of it. We win & lose as a team— Dalton Pompey (@DaltonPompey) October 17, 2015
Rob Neyer points out that the defensive miscue was just one of many things that had to happen for the Royals to rally.
Even after Goins' gaffe, the Blue Jays still had (roughly speaking) an 85-percent chance of winning the game. But then Lorenzo Cain singled and Eric Hosmer singled and (after an out) Mike Moustakas singled, and finally the Royals were favorites. Then Alex Gordon doubled to make the score 4-3, here comes that Kansas City bullpen, and goodbye Blue Jays.
Bautista kept it classy in Kansas City.
Fans telling me Bautista flashed "3-to-nothing" to heckling KC fans in RF while warming up before bottom 7th. Classic baseball karma #Royals— Josh Vernier (@JoshVernier610) October 18, 2015
Bautista did give credit to the Royals coaching staff.
Jose Bautista gives Rusty Kuntz some love for Royals having proper OF defensive positioning on his drive to right in the ninth.— Dave Brown (@AnswerDave) October 18, 2015
Gregg Zaun is back saying things.
Gregg Zaun is the stupidest analyst. Accusing the Royals of stealing signs because Alex Gordon had a good at-bat.— Ray Kim (@RealRayKim) October 17, 2015
And so is our own local media.
@JoeyBats19 I played Infield. If you called me off after I was under it, i would have broken your leg and made catch.— kevin kietzman (@kkwhb) October 18, 2015
It was all destiny.
Celebrate Kansas City. You're two wins away from back-to-back American League pennants.