Opinion

Better a late arrival for Royals closer (and new daddy) Greg Holland than never

Royals closer Greg Holland (56) and catcher Salvador Perez celebrated closing out the ninth inning for a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers last month.
Royals closer Greg Holland (56) and catcher Salvador Perez celebrated closing out the ninth inning for a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers last month. The Kansas City Star

When the Royals were introduced Thursday before the American League Division Series, closer Greg Holland didn’t jog out with the team.

He wasn’t here.

Holland was working his way back from North Carolina, where his wife, Lacey, had delivered their 7-pound, 10-ounce son — Nash Gregory Holland — around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, the day between the Royals’ appearance in the Wild Card Game and the AL Division Series.

He arrived in California on a charter, but didn’t make to Angel Stadium of Anaheim until the sixth inning.

No matter. That’s long before Holland was needed to close out the Royals’ 3-2 victory in 11 innings.

When Holland got to the stadium, he stretched his legs in the bullpen and, as the game remained close in the late innings, he started throwing.

But he didn’t enter until there was a save situation. That happened in the 11th, when the Royals took the lead on Mike Moustakas’ solo home run.

Enter Holland, who had recorded 46 saves this season.

He mowed down Gordon Beckham and Erick Aybar, and got Josh Hamilton to pop up to complete the clean inning and collect his first postseason save.

Holland had pitched a scoreless ninth inning in the Royals’ 9-8, 12-inning victory over the Oakland A’s on Tuesday.

When the Royals flew to California after that game, Holland went the other direction, to Asheville, N.C. He spent Wednesday night at the hospital with his family.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BlairKerkhoff.

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