The Royals missed out on potentially ending the series opener against the San Francisco Giants in the 10th inning Tuesday night by virtue of speed.
With one out and runners on first and second, Eric Hosmer hit a middle-of-the-zone fastball right at Giants second baseman Joe Panik, who fed it cleanly to shortstop Brandon Crawford to start a double play.
Hosmer charged down the first-base line at Kauffman Stadium in an attempt to beat the throw — and by umpire John Tumpane’s standards, Hosmer did just that. Tumpane threw out his arms and called Hosmer safe.
Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, who was filling in for manager Bruce Bochy, immediately came off the bench and challenged the call, alerting the umpiring crew that he wanted a review by placing his hands over his ears like headphones.
The call was reviewed for less than a minute. Officials saw the ball hit the back of first baseman Brandon Belt’s glove a split second before Hosmer’s foot landed on the bag. Hosmer had grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Had the call stood, Salvador Perez would have come to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs — a spot he’s excelled in throughout his career, going 16 for 41 (.390) with two home runs and 21 RBIs.
Alas, Perez did not come up to the plate until the 11th inning. He worked a six-pitch at-bat against Mark Melancon and pulled an offspeed pitch low in the zone into left field for a leadoff single. Perez, like Whit Merrifield, was then stranded on second base when Raul Mondesi ended the game on a swinging strikeout. The Royals lost 2-1.
“We were 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position,” said Royals manager Ned Yost. “We pick up one of those runs and we're not even talking about (Mondesi’s struggles).”