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Royals win a thriller and walk off the Tigers, 4-3

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This game shall be known as the Brandon Moss Game

Detroit Tigers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Well, that was crazy.

A dead Royals offense took a 2-1 lead into the 9th when Mikie Mahtook turned around a 98-MPH Kelvin Herrera fastball to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.

Less than 15 minutes later, the 7-8-9 hitters of that dead offense put two runs on the board in the 9th to beat the Tigers in walk-off fashion, 4-3.

And with the excitement of the walk-off, paired with the gut punch that was the blown save, it’s easy to forget that Jason Hammel was fantastic.

The Tigers jumped on him early, with two quick singles in the first and an RBI groundout from Miguel Cabrera to put him in a 1-0 hole.

However, that run would be the last given up by Hammel, throwing 6.1 innings on 97 pitches and striking out two Tigers in the process.

Tonight’s Hammel was a bit different than previous versions of “good” Hammel, with just five Tigers reaching base against him.

Hammel, even in his better starts, has historically seen a lot of base runners, but has been able to maneuver well with runners in scoring position.

That might even be too generous of a description, as Hammel is currently the 7th worst pitcher in the league at keeping runners off base.

The Royals offense wound up pulling even with Detroit in the third on a Brandon Moss home run to right, making it a 1-1 game. You’ll hear more from him later.

And while Hammel was throwing well, Justin Verlander was throwing the ball just as well, if not better. The 34-year old struck out eight Royals over his 7.0 innings and for the most part carved up the Royals.

But as we all expected, it was Salvador Perez’s speed that would be his demise.

Sal led off the 7th with a little flair out to left that Justin Upton tried to slide and catch. Instead of catching it, the ball wound up rolling to the left field wall and Sal wound up at third base.

Mike Moustakas followed by lining a 1-0 fastball past a drawn in Tigers infield and wouldn’t you know it, the Royals had a 2-1 lead.

The Royals threatened again in the 8th, when Lorenzo Cain launched a two-out double to the right-center gap.

The double was Cain’s first extra-base hit since July 5th, but proved to be in vain as Perez flew out to left after the Tigers intentionally walked Eric Hosmer.

Herrera came out for the 9th, seeking to secure his 11th save in his last 11 tries.

He got Nick Castellanos to ground out to end the inning, but walked Victor Martinez to put the tying run on first.

Mahtook followed by tattooing a Herrera 1-2 pitch over the centerfield wall, putting Detroit up 3-2.

Herrera was then removed from the game, due to illness.

Ned Yost commented in the post game presser that Herrera had been battling a fever over the last few days.

Here’s where the craziness starts.

A one-out Alcides Escobar walk (!!!) brought the winning run in Brandon Moss to the plate, who laced a double off the right-center field wall to drive in Escobar and tying the game at 3-3.

Moss moved to third on the throw to the plate and scored on Alex Gordon’s sacrifice fly to center, giving the Royals a much needed 4-3 walk-off win.

I am also unofficially (but really officially) naming this the Brandon Moss Game, with Moss going 3-4 with a home run and a double, finishing just a triple shy of the cycle.

The win moved the Royals to 46-47 on the season, and brought the Royals to within two games of the Indians for the AL Central lead.

Up Next: Royals v. Tigers, Thursday July 20, 7:15 PM CDT, Kauffman Stadium. RHP Michael Fulmer (10-6, 3.06 ERA) v. LHP Danny Duffy (5-6, 3.51 ERA)