Machado relishes 1st walk-off to ice Royals
DETROIT -- Tigers rookie Dixon Machado stood in the on-deck circle, his emotions ranging from cool and collected to surges of nerves.
The shortstop wasn't sure if he'd have an opportunity to bat in the bottom of the 12th inning. If he did, Machado knew it would be in a tie game with two out and the bases loaded. With a win and his first Major League walk-off hit at stake, Machado delivered a single down the left-field line to give the Tigers a 5-4 win in 12 innings over the Royals on Friday night.
Was the 23-year-old prepared for the situation?
"Yeah," he said. "Of course."
And it all played out to perfection. Royals closer Greg Holland walked Tyler Collins with the bases loaded, scoring Anthony Gose with the tying run. Then, Machado took four pitches and fouled off a fifth before seeing an offering he liked -- a belt-high slider, which he lined into left field.
"I was calm and nervous at the same time," Machado said. "It's a moment that you've been dreaming [of] all your life. He left the pitch high, and I just got a good swing on it, and that's it."
Machado couldn't celebrate right away. Left fielder Alex Gordon had a good read on the ball as it tailed toward the foul line, and the American League Gold Glove Award winner made a diving attempt to force a 13th inning. He didn't quite reach it, though, and the festivities began, complete with a mobbing of Machado and the customary ice-water shower.
"I don't have words to describe that moment, really," Machado said.
Machado's single capped a wild night for the Tigers, who had taken a 3-1 lead into the ninth inning only to see it disappear on a two-out, two-run homer off the bat of Royals catcher Salvador Perez. Kansas City claimed its first lead of the night with an RBI groundout in the top of the 12th, but Detroit rallied with singles from Gose and Miguel Cabrera, an intentional walk to J.D. Martinez and then Collins' bases-loaded walk to bring Machado to the plate.
"When I saw Collins walk, I was like, 'OK -- this is the moment,'" Machado said. "I never thought that I would get to hit at that moment."
But Machado did, and he delivered his first professional walk-off hit since launching a game-winning home run for Triple-A Toledo in June. To accomplish that in the big leagues, though, was "way different."
And the ice-water shower?
"I'm fine with it," Machado said. "I can do that every night."