Dairon Blanco executed a dramatic suicide squeeze bunt in the ninth inning, bringing in pinch-runner Samad Taylor, as the Kansas City Royals mounted a stunning comeback after squandering a 5-0 lead. The Royals secured a thrilling 7-6 victory over the playoff-contending Seattle Mariners on Monday night.
Royals manager Matt Quatraro wryly remarked, “That’s how we drew it up. He’s gotten bunts down in big spots. That guy (Matt Brash) was throwing 100 miles per hour. That’s not easy to do.”
The Royals’ journey to victory was marked by several remarkable moments. Brady Singer held a no-hitter through six innings, Bobby Witt Jr. achieved the Royals’ first inside-the-park home run in four years, and Salvador Perez delivered a crucial three-run homer to build the Royals’ initial substantial lead.
Singer shared his perspective on his performance: “Everything felt good. I was able to work up in the zone. All the pitches were working. I knew (about a no-hitter), but you never think it’s going to happen. So you just go out there and try to make pitches. What happens, happens.”
However, the final two innings saw a flurry of action that nearly overshadowed Singer’s accomplishments. Julio Rodríguez’s bases-clearing double in the eighth inning brought the Mariners within striking distance at 5-3, followed by Eugenio Suárez’s single that scored Rodríguez. The ninth inning saw a dramatic turn of events, as Josh Rojas tied the game with a single, and Rodríguez’s RBI single put the Mariners ahead.
But in the bottom of the ninth, Matt Brash faced difficulties, yielding consecutive singles. Salvador Perez’s sacrifice fly tied the game, and Blanco’s perfectly executed bunt along the first-base line became the game-winning play as Dylan Moore struggled to field it cleanly, allowing Samad Taylor to dash home.
Despite the Mariners’ strong fight, the Royals clinched victory, leaving Seattle manager Scott Servais impressed by the Royals’ resilience: “It was a heck of a comeback by our guys, really down and out and didn’t have a whole lot going offensively. But our guys don’t quit. It’s a testament to them and they find a way to get ahead and get the lead. But then (the Royals) came back, that’s a big hit there at the end to obviously pull it out.”
With this defeat, the Mariners (63-55) experienced their third consecutive loss, trailing the Toronto Blue Jays by two games for the final AL wild-card spot.
The Royals’ offensive highlights included Maikel Garcia’s leadoff single in the first inning, extending his rookie record hitting streak to 16 games, and Witt’s inside-the-park home run. The Royals’ victory was a testament to their perseverance and ability to seize opportunities even in challenging situations.
The series continues with Mariners RHP Emerson Hancock and Royals’ Jordan Lyles taking the mound on Tuesday night.
Across the state in St. Louis, rookie Jordan Walker delivered a pivotal hit for the St. Louis Cardinals, leading them to a 7-5 comeback victory over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night. Walker’s bases-loaded triple in the seventh inning was the defining moment of the game.
Walker expressed his satisfaction with the clutch hit: “It’s a learning curve. I’ve been in those situations before and didn’t come through. When he comes through, it’s exciting to see,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “Hopefully, we’ll see a lot more.”
The Cardinals’ rally was also powered by Paul Goldschmidt’s two-run homer in the fifth inning, his 19th of the season.
Jo Jo Romero (3-1) pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, contributing to the Cardinals’ turnaround. The team had previously lost all six of their previous encounters with the Athletics.
In the decisive seventh inning, Angel Felipe (1-1) walked the bases full with one out, leading to the Cardinals narrowing the gap to 5-4. Walker then stepped up to the plate and delivered a crucial triple to right-center on a 3-2 fastball. The hit proved to be the game-winner, as the ball glanced off the glove of Oakland right fielder Seth Brown.
Walker reflected on his key hit and the pressure of the moment: “I had to battle in that at-bat. He ended throwing a fastball and I flicked my hands and went the other way. Bases loaded, down by one. I’ve got to get that ball in play. I can’t swing and miss there. I can’t strike out there. First year in the big leagues, sometimes I get excited and try to do too much.”
The Cardinals’ victory was further supported by a solid pitching performance from Miles Mikolas and Giovanny Gallegos. Despite yielding a lead in the seventh inning, Mikolas was pleased with the team’s outcome: “It wasn’t my best game. Kept us close. All I care about is we came out of it with a win.”
Both teams made roster moves, with the Athletics recalling RHP Spenser Watkins from Triple-A Las Vegas, and the Cardinals reinstating INF Tony Kemp from the paternity list.
The Cardinals’ win was marked by their patience at the plate, walking a season-high 10 times. This strategic approach helped them secure the victory, as they capitalized on Oakland’s inability to attack the strike zone effectively.
The upcoming game will feature Cardinals RHP Dakota Hudson (3-0, 4.31 ERA) facing off against the Athletics, whose starting pitcher had not yet been announced.
Other MLB scores for Monday, August 14, 2023:
Miami Marlins 5, Houston Astros 1
Atlanta Braves 11, New York Yankees 3
St. Louis Cardinals 7, Oakland Athletics 5
Baltimore Orioles 4, San Diego Padres 1
Tampa Bay Rays 10, San Francisco Giants 2
Texas Rangers 12, Los Angeles Angels 0
Kansas City Royals 7, Seattle Mariners 6
New York Mets 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 2
Colorado Rockies 6, Arizona Diamondbacks 4