The Moment: The Royals commanded the lead throughout almost the entire game, holding on to it even into the 9th inning. There was one out and Jason Castro had earned a single when the recently struggling Kennys Vargas stepped to the plate. Tie ball game. He is so serious when he trots around the bases, and I love that.
The Hero: Vargas, man. Was there any doubt? And he was a pinch hitter! How crazy is that? A pinch hit, game tying home run.
The Goat: Kelvin Herrera got off to a good start, striking out Jorge Polanco, but then it was all bad. He gave up the home run to Vargas to blow the save and allow the tie. At least he didn’t get tagged with the loss!
The Soundtrack: All Apologies – Nirvana. This is not a statement to Kansas City. They won the World Series a couple years ago. No, this is more from me to you for posting this so late in the evening.
The Story: The Royals grabbed a 2 run home run from Jorge Bonifacio in the third inning, accounting for most of their run total. The Twins trailed by those same two runs until the fateful moment in the 9th when, with one out and a runner aboard, when Kennys Vargas came in to bat for Byron Buxton, and bombed it to center field. Kelvin Herrera has been a good reliever throughout his career, but not so much this season. His ERA jumped to 4.50 after the 9th inning in Minneapolis.
At least he could find the strike zone, though. Al Albuquerque came in and immediately walked the only two batters he faced. Travis Wood came in and continued the trend, walking the first batter he saw as well. Finally, he the Royals were able to retire Jorge Polanco on a fly out to left. Unfortunately, that fly ball was deep enough to bring Joe Mauer in from third. A walk off sac-fly. As a friendly ghost once told me, walks will haunt.
The Twins had an adequate start from Hector Santiago, but he did allow 8 hits, including Bonifacio’s home run, through 5 innings. His high pitch count led to the use of 4 relievers over 5 innings. The Twins are hoping that it rains on Saturday, and they can skip a spot in the rotation that isn’t officially filed (though would be Adalberto Mejia if the game is played), and give the pen a little bit of extra rest. Sneaky. Not unlike coming from behind and snatching victory from the claws of defeat.