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Royals finally cash in, steal win vs. old friend

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- For eight innings, the Royals peppered the Rockies for 12 hits and a walk, yet they scored just three runs.

And even in the ninth against an old friend, former Royals closer Greg Holland, it appeared the Royals would scratch and claw but come up empty. Alex Gordon walked leading off, but Whit Merrifield and Lorenzo Cain lined out hard to the outfield.

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KANSAS CITY -- For eight innings, the Royals peppered the Rockies for 12 hits and a walk, yet they scored just three runs.

And even in the ninth against an old friend, former Royals closer Greg Holland, it appeared the Royals would scratch and claw but come up empty. Alex Gordon walked leading off, but Whit Merrifield and Lorenzo Cain lined out hard to the outfield.

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Melky Cabrera kept the Royals' fortunes alive with a sharp single to left. Then the Royals got the big blow they coveted all game, a rocket three-run home run from Eric Hosmer that walked off the Rockies, 6-4, Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

The dramatic win pulled the Royals within five games of the first-place Indians in the American League Central.

"I had a feeling he would get a hanger and not miss it," Merrifield said of Hosmer. "But definitely it was a good feeling."

Most of the Royals thought the key moment of the inning was Gordon's leadoff walk.

"I felt good about our at-bats," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I felt good about our approach at the plate, especially with Gordy leading off with a walk right there. That was big because you go into an inning like that, down one, you just keep thinking to yourself, 'If you can get the leadoff guy on, you're going to be in business.' Gordy with the leadoff walk helped start the rally."

Gordon worked the count full before talking a slider low and away.

"You know it's going to be a battle with that good slider of his," Gordon said.

Eventually Hosmer came up with two on and two outs. He took a fastball high, then a slider for a high strike. He then turned on a slider and drove it into the right-field seats.

Video: COL@KC: Hosmer belts a walk-off three-run homer

"I know how good his slider is," Hosmer said. "I'm trying to look for something up. Anything that starts belt high or a little above is going to go right to the ground.

"Just trying to see something up and put a good swing on one. It's a swing like that that can really get things going for the team. I got it pretty good. I'm not sure if he was trying to back-door it or back-foot it, but I just saw it up and put a good swing on it."

Gordon was on second base and said the blast was a no-doubter. It went 398 feet, per Statcast™, and had an exit velocity of 109 mph.

"It was a missile," Gordon said. "That was loud."

And naturally, Hosmer, who has eight career walk-off hits and now one walk-off homer, was mobbed at the plate.

"Especially late in the year, this was a big win for us," Merrifield said. "We understood the magnitude of this. To come back against an All-Star closer, it's big."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals