KANSAS CITY -- Most wouldn't have expected Alcides Escobar to launch a walk-off homer, but when he barreled a Taylor Rogers fastball for a 2-1 win in 14 innings over the Twins on Tuesday night, he had no doubt it was heading for the Kauffman Stadium seats."I knew right away,"
KANSAS CITY -- Most wouldn't have expected Alcides Escobar to launch a walk-off homer, but when he barreled a Taylor Rogers fastball for a 2-1 win in 14 innings over the Twins on Tuesday night, he had no doubt it was heading for the Kauffman Stadium seats.
"I knew right away," Escobar said. "When I hit the ball, I said 'Game over.'"
Escobar's first career walk-off blast evened the series at one game apiece and ended a marathon marked by strong pitching from both teams.
Scott Barlow earned his first Major League win with four hitless innings in relief, stepping in as the game went to extras to keep the Twins at bay and keep the Royals' chances alive.
"Just trying to get the guys back in the dugout and keep hitting," Barlow said of his performance. "Luckily, Esky came up clutch."
Both starting pitchers were sharp, but Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson exited with a 1-0 lead after allowing just five hits across seven clean innings.
It wasn't until Gibson gave way to Addison Reed in the eighth that the Royals made any noise on offense. Reed quickly surrendered singles to Jonathan Jay and Mike Moustakas before hitting Salvador Perez with a pitch and walking Jorge Soler with the bases full to tie the game at 1.
Royals lefty Danny Duffy was consistently strong except for in the third inning, when Ehire Adrianza scored on Miguel Sano's bases-loaded single. Duffy finished with six innings of four-hit ball, his second straight solid outing after a sluggish start to the season.
Once Duffy was pulled, a five-man chain of relievers was summoned by Yost to finish the job. Together, they combined for eight shutout innings and allowed just three hits.
"Danny set the tone and all the relievers were great," manager Ned Yost said. "They gave us a chance to finally win that game."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Alex Gordon helped prevent what could've been a much more damaging rally in the third when he fired a strike to catcher Andrew Butera to nail James Dozier at home following Sano's RBI single.
Statcast™ tracked Gordon's throw as traveling 219 feet at a blistering speed of 91.6 mph, the seventh-hardest throw of his career since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. It was his second outfield assist of the season and No. 82 since 2011 -- the most in the Majors.
"That was a fantastic play," Yost said. "I mean, Drew didn't have to move. That's how great a throw it was. Drew just had to put the tag on the runner."
Jay extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a bunt single against the shift in the third. He reached base two more times, drawing a walk in the fifth and singling again in the eighth before scoring the tying run.
HE SAID IT
"I heard somebody say, 'If we don't score, we'll be here until 5 in the morning.' I thought they were talking about our offense." -- Yost, who was unaware of the bad weather approaching the ballpark in extras
Royals right-hander Brad Keller (1-1, 2.01 ERA) will start his first game in the Majors at 7:15 p.m. CT on Wednesday in the series finale against the Twins at Kauffman Stadium. Having previously worked as a reliever, Keller is expected to throw around 55-60 pitches. He'll be opposed by another rookie starter in righty Fernando Romero (2-1, 1.88), who has struck out 29 in his five starts this season for Minnesota.
Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.