It’s been almost 12 hours. That’s 12 hours to digest what we saw Monday night. That’s 12 hours to make sense of the most improbable Royals victory in this most improbable of Royals seasons.
And I still don’t comprehend what happened.
Maybe this will help:
Really, this is baseball, isn’t it? Sometimes the manager draws names out of a hat and posts it as a lineup and it goes out and scores seven runs. Other times, a team looks lifeless against what should be an overmatched starting pitcher, only to come to life against a bullpen in a most unconventional way.
I’m 100 words into this post and I still don’t know where to begin.
All I seem to understand is Mike Moustakas hit a one-out double and was lifted for Jerrod Dyson. One thing we know about Ned Yost is the manager loves him some pinch running. You get the feeling if he could stock his bench with nine speed guys – one for each inning – he’d do it in a second. So to see Moustakas removed for Dyson made all sorts of sense. That’s the tying run after all, and it seems Yost may finally understand the Royals are fighting for their October lives. After a ground out, the Royals were down to their final out.
With the hero Nori Aoki up, Dyson breaks for third on the first pitch. Well, just watch…
There is so much that is great about that highlight. The immediate switch to the camera behind home plate, so we can see the action. Ryan Lefebvre’s call. And Uncle Hud’s cheerleading punctuated with a primal “Yeah!” as Dyson glides on his belly across the plate. And then letting the crowd take over. It’s all there. That’s a Maxwell Grand Slam kind of highlight for me.
(I run so hot and cold on Uncle Hud as an announcer. I seem to love him during the wins and barely tolerate him during the losses. I’m probably not alone. It’s because he’s a cheerleader. You may not like having an unabashed homer as one of your announcers, but I don’t mind. And Uncle Hud is genuine. Whatever. I loved it on Monday.)
Then, with the game tied, Aoki laces a double down the left field line. It capped a perfect 4-4 night (with a walk thrown in for good measure) with some of the most bizarre swings you’ll see. That sets up another pinch runner in Terrance Gore. I know there was some questioning of this move, as Aoki possesses some speed of his own. I thought Yost made the right call here. This way, you can do some defensive shuffling, allowing Dyson to stay in the game and letting the new third baseman hit in Aoki’s spot. And while Aoki is fast, Gore is pretty much a sure thing on a single. So as bad as Yost was at pushing the buttons on Sunday, he got things right on Monday. Funny game, baseball.
So when Lorenzo Cain chopped an infield single up the middle when Gore was breaking for third, it was over.
Go ahead. Take your time. Try to make sense of what you saw last night. I don’t think you can. But that’s OK. September baseball, baby. September baseball.
Suddenly, the first six innings were forgotten. The putrid at bats. The suspect defense. Washed away in roughly 10 seconds. The time it took Dyson and Gore to go from second to home. The time it took the Royals to go from losers to winners.