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Royals almost lose on a straight steal, but walk it off instead, winning 4-3 over Cleveland

Freddy Fermin, our hero

MLB: MAY 11 White Sox at Royals Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Entering today’s game, the Royals boasted the 3rd worst 80-game start in MLB history and with a loss, would secure the 3rd worst half-season start in history.

To make matters worst, they also entered the game facing a sweep and having not scored more than a run in a game since Saturday. And after allowing the go-ahead run to score on a straight steal of home in the 10th, it was looking like an all-time Royals loss was incoming.

But then Freddy Fermin saved the day, doubling in the game-tying and winning runs off Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase in the 10th, walking the Royals off to a 4-3 win.

The Royals improve to 23-58, still the worst 81-game start in team history by two games.

Cleveland starter Shane Bieber thoroughly dominated the struggling Kansas City offense, making for a bleak outlook after the first seven innings of play.

He gave up just two hits across his six innings, both bloop doubles. In fact, they both had a combined .060 xBA off the bat.

Aside from a MJ Melendez walk, the Royals did nothing else against Bieber, who threw just 81 pitches. Meanwhile, it was quite a busy day for Kansas City starter Zack Greinke and the defense.

Greinke loaded the bases in the 1st with a single sandwiched in between two walks, all with two outs. He escaped that jam. He gave up a single in the 2nd before picking off Myles Straw and stranded another single in the 3rd.

Then Greinke opened up the 4th by giving up back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners before escaping thanks to a nice play from Matt Duffy, who threw out Straw at the plate. Another jam escaped.

The dam broke in the 5th with Steven Kwan leading off with a single, moving to 2nd on a wild pitch and third on a sac fly before scoring on yet another sac fly. Then with two outs, Josh Naylor doubled and was driven in by (also) Josh Bell on a pop-up single over Duffy’s head at 3rd to make it a 2-0 game.

All in all, Greinke gave up 11 hits but held the Guardians to just two runs. He didn’t strike out a batter.

The Royals rallied late, though, and gave themselves a shot to make something out of another lousy day at the plate. Nicky Lopez led off with a walk and moved to third on Drew Waters’ single. An Edward Olivares sac fly made it a 2-1 same and brought up Nick Pratto, representing the go-ahead run.

Waters stole second base to put the tying run in scoring position before Pratto singled in the tying run. It was just Pratto’s 4th hit in his last 28 plate appearances. He had also struck out in 40 of his previous 96 plate appearances.

Both teams held serve in the 9th, sending the game to extras, leading to a wild 10th inning. Naylor grounded out to 2nd, sending ghost runner Jose Ramirez to 3rd. Then, with the count 0-2 on Bell, this happened.

A pretty unbelievable play for Jose Ramirez, if not one of the most reckless decisions we’ve ever witnessed given the context.

But it worked. Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase was then left with the job of stranding Kyle Isbel on 2nd. Lopez responded with a single, putting the tying run on 3rd with nobody out.

Drew Waters struck out, leaving the job to pinch hitter Freddy Fermin. With two strikes, he was looking at ushering in one of the more Royals losses of the season: Giving up the go-ahead run on a straight steal of home before stranding the tying run at 3rd with nobody out.

But then Clase threw him a middle-middle slider and Fermin took advantage, lofting a walk-off two-RBI double down the left-field line to end the 4-3 sweep-avoiding win.

The AL Central is still without a team at or above .500. You’re welcome.

Up Next: Royals v. Dodgers, Friday, June 30, 7:10 PM CDT, Kauffman Stadium. RHP Jordan Lyles (1-11, 6.68 ERA) v. Bobby Miller (3-1, 4.13 ERA).