On a night when Jorge Soler broke the Royals single-season home run record and Ryan McBroom got a hit on his very first Major League plate appearance, the Kansas City Royals came from behind after a late Detroit Tigers surge to win 6-5 thanks to a walkoff solo blast by Ryan O’Hearn.
But first, let’s not bury the lede here: Soler crushed his 39th home run of the season, a no-doubt record breaker to left field, against Bud Norris in the third inning. It was a three-run shot that scored Whit Merrifield and Nick Dini, providing all of Kansas City’s offense until the eighth inning.
The offense was sorely needed, as the rest of the lineup proved rather limp. Hunter Dozier’s particularly wretched day culminated in four strikeouts—the ever-dreaded Golden Sombrero. One such strikeout came in the eighth inning with Adelberto Mondesi on second base and Soler on first and one out.
Thankfully, Dozier was bailed out by some good ol’ fashioned Royals Devil Magic: Alex Gordon hit a ground ball on home plate that bounced over the pitcher for an infield single, and Gregory Soto threw a wild pitch in a pitcher’s count against McBroom. That made it 5-4 Kansas City, and 5-4.
On the pitching front, Royals starter Mike Montgomery was solid over 5 2⁄3 innings, striking out five against one walk and only allowing a single run. The former Royals top prospect has started nine games and has been awfully good over that stretch, throwing 46.1 innings and putting up a 3.69 ERA.
Unfortunately, Monty’s bullpen was...less than stellar, let’s say. Scott Barlow gave up a run in the seventh inning, and then Kevin McCarthy gave up two runs—and the lead—in the eighth inning. While the Royals were able to claw back into the lead in the aforementioned eighth inning, Ian Kennedy also gave up a run in the top of the ninth inning, meaning that the Royals bullpen blew two separate leads against the worst team in baseball. Herrera, Davis, and Holland it ain’t.
But it did not matter. The lefty O’Hearn, pinch hitting for the right-handed Dini against the right-handed Zac Reininger, crushed a ball to left for an opposite field home run. Lo, it was a walkoff. A beautiful, beautiful walkoff.
The Royals won their 50th game tonight, a full 10 more than Detroit has. Detroit is bad. The Royals have two more games against the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium before a six-game road trip to Miami and Chicago.