Royals Vs Rangers: Maxwell Grand Slam Wins It In The 10th


Regardless how the last week plays out (and deep down, we all know how it is going to play out), the ending of this game was as exciting as game can be. The Kansas City Royals’ (82-73) climatic 4-0 win over the Texas Rangers (84-71) was sort of a microcosm of the season on a whole – terrific pitching, spotty, inconsistent hitting, and tension filled excitement.

Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

On the Mound

James Shields lived up to his name once again. Despite taking a line drive off his elbow in the third inning, he completed 8 shutout innings, allowing six hits and walking one while striking out just 2. Shields just never seems bothered by his offenses lack of production when he starts. He just does his job. And he does it well.

For everyone out there who wants to point to this stat or that stat and say he is not an ace, I say “Shame on you!” By actions and performance, James Shields is an ace. He may not be the prototypical, mow ’em down ace like, say Clayton Kershaw, but James Shields is an ace nonetheless.

At the Plate

Until the 10th inning, the Royals only had 2 hits off Alex Ogando and Tyler Scheppers. A double by Hosmer, an intentional walk to Butler, a Salvador Perez infield hit, followed by a weak infield pop up by Mike Moustakas, and even weaker fielder’s choice, ground out by George Kottaras, set the table for Justin Maxwell‘s unlikely heroics.

Maxwell took a full count fastball from former Royal fan favorite Joakim Soria, and blasted it to the deep, deep left field seats for the incredible walk off win.

This and That

I’m all for ragging on the stupid decisions made by Ned Yost, but his pinch running for the slow footed Billy Butler after his 1oth inning intentional walk was not one of them. If Yost doesn’t pinch run Chris Getz, Butler would not have beat out the throw to second on Perez’s infield single, and the inning would never have made it to Maxwell. It was the smart move.

The dumber move was actually Yost’s decision to let Justin Maxwell, who is historically bad against righties, bat instead of David Lough, a lefty who has batted decently with runners in scoring position (.299) this year. Yost said in his post game press conference that it was a “gut feeling.” If Maxwell makes an out there, we would all be roasting Yost for letting Maxwell hit against the right handed Soria.

The Royals finished 44-37 at Kauffman Stadium this season.

The Royals are still 3.5 back of the Cleveland Indians for the second wild card berth. If the Royals win out, the Indians would have to go 3-3 against the White Sox and Indians, just for the Royals to tie them. The Rangers would have to lose at least 2 games out of their last 7.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

Two, easy no-brainer choices – James Shields and Justin Maxwell. No explanations needed.

Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers

Joakim Soria‘s ERA soared after today’s outing. He began the day with a 4.03 mark, and ended with a 4.29 ERA. It was his first appearance against the Royals.

The Rangers are now 1.5 games out of the wild card race. They finish the season with three against the Astros and four against the Angels.

Up Next

The Royals travel west for 4 games against the Mariners. In game one, Yordano Ventura ((0-0, 1.59 ERA) will make his second career start. Brandon Maurer (4-8, 6.95 ERA) will go for Seattle.

AL Central Notes

Detroit Tigers (91-65): Prince Fielder hit his 25th home run of the year in a 6-3 loss to the White Sox.

Cleveland Indians (86-70): The Astros provided little resistance to the Indians this weekend. Corey Kluber beat them 9-2 in the series finale. Carlos Santana homered in the win.

Minnesota Twins (65-90): Oswaldo Arcia hit his 14th home run, had 6 RBI,  and had 3 hits in the Twins 11-7 loss to the Athletics.

Chicago White Sox (61-94): The White Sox bounced back from a brutal loss on Saturday to beat the Tigers 6-3. Avisail Garcia and Jeff Keppinger each had 3 hits in the win.