Royals

Eric Hosmer’s hit in 11th lifts Royals over Twins after long rain delay

Kansas City Royals' Eric Hosmer celebrates his game winning walk off hit in the 11th inning for a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins early Saturday morning at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The game started on Friday and both teams endured a three hour rain delay before resuming the fifth inning at 11:45 p.m.
Kansas City Royals' Eric Hosmer celebrates his game winning walk off hit in the 11th inning for a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins early Saturday morning at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The game started on Friday and both teams endured a three hour rain delay before resuming the fifth inning at 11:45 p.m. jsleezer@kcstar.com

If the Royals somehow pull off the improbable — turning less-than-one-percent odds into a playoff berth — they will remember this night.

They’ll remember the 5-4 victory Friday (and early Saturday) over the Twins, the dedicated fans who stuck around for seven hours to watch it, Eric Hosmer extending both hands in the air at 2:15 a.m. after delivering a walkoff single in the 11th inning that drove in Cheslor Cuthbert.

“You’re here this long,” Royals manager Ned Yost said, “you’ve got to win it.”

Cuthbert started the 11th with an infield single before Lorenzo Cain walked. That set up Hosmer, who squared to bunt twice earlier in the at-bat before deciding to swing away.

“I didn’t want to risk anything,” Hosmer said. “I wanted to get those guys over.”

When he failed to do that — Yost said he was just as curious about Hosmer’s decision to bunt and hadn’t talked to him before the postgame interview — Hosmer turned on a 3-2 fastball, knocking it off the warning track in right to start the celebration.

Read Next

With its sixth straight win, KC improved to 62-60 while picking up a game in the Wild Card race, moving to 5  1/2 games back with 40 to play.

And while Hosmer was the hero — and the one that was mobbed by his teammates afterwards — the Royals bullpen gave him the opportunity.

Following a three-hour, three-minute rain delay, six Royals relievers combined for 6  2/3 scoreless. The bullpen last surrendered a run on Aug. 10 — a stretch that is up to 25  2/3 innings.

“Everyone’s doing their part,” Royals reliever Matt Strahm said. “Team chemistry is huge right now. We’re just rolling.”

If they were honest, the Royals would probably tell you they should have won this one about five hours sooner.

Before Friday’s game, Yost attempted to play meteorologist in his office. He rotated a chair toward a tablet on his desk, using a Stylus Pen to zoom in on a weather map that showed a glob of storms in central Kansas.

“I don’t know,” Yost said. “Some people say it’ll be here at 7. Some people say it’ll be here at 9.”

The 9:00 predictors were closer, with light rain and distant lightning making an 8:30 appearance at Kauffman Stadium.

At 8:32, Edinson Volquez took the mound with a 4-1 lead in the fifth while understanding the weird reality of the situation. With the rain starting to fall harder and a storm approaching, the right-hander likely needed to secure three outs before Minnesota scored three runs to make it an official game and secure the Royals’ victory.

Volquez couldn’t do it.

The Twins came up with three runs on four hits to tie it before the rain delay, extending a game that appeared to be close to ending. After Jorge Polanco lined a 1-2 pitch for a two-run double to right that tied the score, KC’s grounds crew was told to take the field, rushing to unroll the tarp before the ensuing downpour.

Volquez walked off with his head down, knowing 18 pitches had kept him from a potential win.

“We definitely know if we could have got a couple of outs there, it would have been an earlier night for us,” Hosmer said. “From that point on, you’ve got to forget about it, realize it didn’t happen and continue to grind it out. That’s one thing this group does well is grind it out.”

The strange circumstances also left Yost with an unconventional possibility. Knowing the rain was likely coming — and it was likely to be the Twins’ last time at bat — he could have decided to go to his bullpen to bring in closer Kelvin Herrera for the fifth.

Yost chose to trust his starter, a decision that appeared defensible the way Volquez was pitching. Through four innings, he’d allowed one run on two hits while striking out four. He also retired the side in order in the fourth, which included a Max Kepler punchout and Miguel Sano popup.

After restarting at 11:44, the teams faced a second delay at 12:17, as a bank of stadium lights went out when Royals officials failed to override a previously scheduled timer. The Twins briefly left the field during the 12-minute delay.

Including delays, the game took 6 hours, 59 minutes before its 2:15 finish.

“Longest game in history,” Cain said while walking through the clubhouse afterwards.

Hosmer agreed.

“You throw all that stuff in there,” he said, “it’s definitely one of the longer ones I’ve been a part of.”

Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell

Royals 5, Twins 4

Minnesota

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Dozier 2b

4

2

2

1

1

0

.269

Polanco ss

4

0

1

2

1

2

.314

Mauer 1b

4

0

0

0

1

1

.279

Plouffe 3b

4

0

1

0

1

0

.255

Kepler rf

5

0

0

0

0

2

.254

Sano dh

4

0

0

0

1

2

.245

Rosario cf

5

1

2

0

0

1

.273

Centeno c

5

1

1

1

0

2

.269

Santana lf

5

0

0

0

0

2

.250

Totals

40

4

7

4

5

12

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Dyson cf

5

0

1

2

1

1

.250

Cuthbert 3b

5

1

1

1

1

1

.295

Cain rf

5

0

2

0

1

0

.284

Hosmer 1b

5

0

1

1

1

1

.273

Morales dh

5

0

1

0

0

1

.243

Perez c

4

1

2

0

0

0

.257

1-Burns pr

0

0

0

0

0

0

.125

Butera c

1

0

0

0

0

0

.277

Gordon lf

3

2

1

0

2

1

.220

Escobar ss

4

1

2

1

1

0

.259

Mondesi 2b

3

0

1

0

0

2

.211

Totals

40

5

12

5

7

7

Minnesota

001

030

000

00

4

7

0

Kansas City

030

100

000

01

5

12

0

No outs when winning run scored. 1-ran for Perez in the 8th.

LOB—Minnesota 8, Kansas City 14. 2B—Polanco (7), Rosario (15), Centeno (9), Perez (24). HR—Dozier (28), off Volquez. RBIs—Dozier (74), Polanco 2 (12), Centeno (20), Dyson 2 (17), Cuthbert (39), Hosmer (71), Escobar (34). SB—Dozier (9), Cain (10). S—Mondesi. Runners left in scoring position—Minnesota 5 (Kepler 3, Centeno, Santana);Kansas City 5 (Dyson, Cuthbert, Cain, Morales, Mondesi). RISP—Minnesota 3 for 11;Kansas City 3 for 14. Runners moved up—Rosario, Centeno, Escobar. GIDP—Cain. DP—Minnesota 1 (Polanco, Dozier, Mauer).

Minnesota

IP

H

R

ER

W

K

NP

ERA

Berrios

4

5

4

4

4

2

77

9.28

O’Rourke

1 2/3

1

0

0

1

2

26

3.48

Tonkin

2/3

0

0

0

0

1

6

3.86

Rogers

1 2/3

1

0

0

0

1

23

3.02

Pressly

2

3

0

0

1

1

45

3.27

Chargois L, 0-1

0

2

1

1

1

0

15

10.12

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

W

K

NP

ERA

Volquez

4 1/3

6

4

4

1

5

73

5.04

Strahm

1 2/3

0

0

0

1

3

31

1.08

Moylan

1/3

0

0

0

2

0

13

3.56

Flynn

2/3

0

0

0

1

1

9

2.79

Soria

1

0

0

0

0

2

17

3.96

Herrera

1

0

0

0

0

1

11

1.98

Wang W, 6-0

2

1

0

0

0

0

28

4.66

Inherited runners-scored—Tonkin 1-0, Strahm 1-0, Flynn 2-0. IBB—off Pressly (Hosmer). HBP—Berrios (Mondesi). PB—Centeno (3). Umpires—Home, Brian Knight;First, Stu Scheurwater;Second, Bill Miller;Third, Todd Tichenor.

T—3:44. A—28,463 (37,903).

Related stories from Kansas City Star

  Comments