The season didn’t end in another championship like we all would have liked, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have some fun games with our boys in blue this year. Here is a look at the best Royals games of 2017.
June 6 - The Astros blow a four-run 8th inning lead to the Royals....again
The Astros were flying high, off to a terrific start and carrying an 11-game winning streak, while the Royals were still mired in last place in mid-June when the two teams met in Kansas City. The Astros and their high-powered offense jumped all over rookie Jakob Junis, and led 7-1 after just three and a half innings. The Royals chipped away, and trailed 7-3 going into the eighth.
A four-run deficit in the eighth against the Astros? I feel like I’ve read that book before. The Royals did what they did in the 2015 ALDS against Houston - they kept the line moving. Salvy singled. Moose singled. Cheslor singled. Gordo walked. The big blow was a three-run double by Whit Merrifield to tie the game 7-7.
In the ninth, Ken Giles retired the first two hitters before Salvy singled. That brought up Moose, enjoying his best power season, and he showed off his pop by delivering a two-run, walk-off homer to win the game.
June 23 - Comeback against the Blue Jays
The Royals got off to a horrendous start, but a hot June allowed them to claw their way back to respectability. They opened up a series at home against Toronto with a chance to reach .500, but found themselves down 2-1 heading into the ninth. Joakim Soria gave up a pair of runs to make it a 4-1 lead, a seemingly insurmountable lead for an offense that had struggled much of the year.
The Blue Jays were having major bullpen issues, but were just one out away from closing things out with the bottom of the order due up. With Salvador Perez at second on a double, Brandon Moss walked, and on the wild pitch, Salvy advanced to third. Alcides Escobar singled to drive home a run and make it 4-2. Alex Gordon singled home another run.
That brought up Whit Merrifield, who was emerging as the breakout star for the Royals that year. Whit rose to the occasion, lacing a double to left off Jason Grilli to score two runs and win the game.
July 16 - Thanks, sun
The Royals had climbed back into the Wild Card race by July, but they were swept by the Dodgers, and the Rangers were threatening to sweep them in the first series after the All-Star break. The Royals carried a 2-1 lead into the seventh of the Sunday match, only to see Ian Kennedy give up a game-tying home run. The Royals reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning, but Joakim Soria gave up a game-tying single in the eighth.
With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, the Royals faced Jason Grilli again, this time in a Rangers uniform. Alcides Escboar led off with a single, and Alex Gordon walked to push him to second. Salvy forced Esky out at third, but Whit was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Jorge Bonifacio whiffed, and it looked like the Royals might be blowing a prime opportunity. Lorenzo Cain lofted a routine flyball into the high Sunday sky. Shin-Soo Choo looked up and.....dropped it. Royals win.
July 23 - A week of walk-offs
The Royals were wrapping up a ten-game homestand that had already seen two walk-off wins against the Tigers and White Sox. In the Sunday finale, the team muscled up for back-to-back-to-back home runs in the fourth against the White Sox by Whit Merrifield, Jorge Bonifacio, and Eric Hosmer, but still trailed 4-3 going into the eighth.
Whit showed off his power surge by slamming a second home run in the game - his first multi-home run game - to tie the game at 4-4 in the eighth. With the game tied in the ninth, Greg Infante tried to keep the Royals off the board, but found there was a little Royals Devil Magic left.
Mike Moustakas led off with a single, and pinch-runner Lorenzo Cain moved to second on a wild pitch. Alcides Escobar would be hit by a pitch before Brandon Moss laced a shot down the line for the game-winning walk-off hit, the second time in a week he had won the game. It would be the fifth of what would end up being a nine-game win streak. The win left them tied with the Rays for a playoff spot, just 1.5 games back of Cleveland.
July 26 - A romp in Detroit
The Tigers had a tough season, but this game in late July looked like a normal game, with the Royals up 4-1 after six innings. The Tigers bullpen came in and - have I told you about the Tigers bullpen? They’re bad. Like, really bad. And they showed it off in perfect fashion in the seventh.
Double. Single. Single. Strike out (Brandon Moss, shocker!). Double. Hit-by-Pitch. Single. Single. Single. It was apparently Singles Night at the ballpark.
Eric Hosmer capped the inning off with a grand slam off of something called a “Warwick Saupold”, one of the Ewoks from Return of the Jedi. When the dust settled, the score was 13-1, Royals.
The Royals would knock the Tigers around for a few more runs - infielder Andrew Romine eventually had to come on to pitch, but the Royals ended up winning 16-2, the second time in a week they had put 16 on the board against the Tigers. If there was a downside, it was when Bruce Rondon plunked Mike Moustakas (almost certainly intentionally, and yet was never disciplined) and left a bruise that would hamper Moose for much of the remainder of the season.
August 23 - Hello, old friend
Many Royals fans may have regretted not bringing Greg Holland back with the bullpen struggling all year, but Holland had some struggles of his own in late August. he was brought into the ninth inning of the Royals-Rockies game with his team up 4-3, having already blown two saves in the preceding week.
Holland walked Alex Gordon to start the inning, but retired the next two hitters and was close to picking up another familiar save. Melky Cabrera’s grounder found a hole to put two on for Eric Hosmer.
Hosmer has shone brightly in the spotlight for many years, but had never hit a walk-off home run before. That changed on August 23 as he blasted one out of the park off his former teammate for a 6-4 Royals victory.
What was the best game of the year?
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Moose walk off vs. Houston
Comeback against Toronto
Choo drops the ball in the sun
Walk-off double against White Sox
16-2 rout in Detroit
Hosmer walk-off against Greg Holland