In a boring season full of losing, this seems like a game that we’ll remember. It will certainly be played on Fox Sports Kansas City during the Christmas Eve marathon.
After Sal calls his shot and Brandon Maurer blows the lead, Ryan O’Hearn and Hunter Dozier hit back-to-back homers to push the Royals past the Indians on a 5-4 win.
But first, Sal came through on a promise.
Before the first game of the 2nd annual Players’ Weekend, Salvador Perez made a promise to a fan.
He came through quickly, blasting a 3-2 Mike Clevinger fastball into the right-centerfield fountain with nobody out in the first inning.
The 454-foot tank put the Royals up 3-0 before Clevinger recorded an out, giving Brad Keller a nice cushion. And he took advantage of it.
For the third consecutive start, Keller gave up fewer than three runs. It wasn’t pretty, but he fought through 5.0 innings and held the Indians to two runs while striking out five. One of those runs coming at the hands of Yonder Alonso homer in the 4th.
After Keller was removed, Brian Flynn and Kevin McCarthy each gave him a scoreless inning in support before Maurer came on in the 8th.
Maurer came into the ballgame on a hot streak of sorts.
Brandon Maurer from March 29th to July 23rd:— Patrick Brennan (@paintingcorner) August 21, 2018
12 IP, 14.25 ERA, 9.08 FIP, 7.35 xFIP, -5.7% K-BB%, 9.0% SwStr%, FB velocity of 95.5 MPH
Brandon Maurer from July 26th to today
10 IP, 0.90 ERA, 2.46 FIP, 3.61 xFIP, 16.3% K-BB%, 11.2% SwStr%, FB velocity of 96.8 MPH
That streak ended tonight. After a Jose Ramirez one-out single, Ramirez put himself into scoring position by stealing second base on an Edwin Encarnacion strikeout.
Turns out, it wouldn’t matter, because Alonso pummeled a 3-1 fastball from Maurer into the right field stands to put the Indians up 4-3.
All seemed lost until Ryan O’Hearn led off the 9th with his 6th homer of the season, tying the game at 4-4.
Two pitches later, Hunter Dozier and his one batting glove hit a walk-off home run to right center field that just cleared the fence.
It was a wild finish.
The home run was Dozier’s first career walk-off hit of any kind at the big league level.