The moment Salvador Perez’s game-winning RBI single evaded Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson, the Royals tore out of the dugout to celebrate.
Rookie Brandon Finnegan helped the Royals do something they hadn’t done in 29 years — celebrate a postseason victory — by pitching 2 1/3 clutch frames in extra innings of a scintillating 9-8 walk-off triumph in 12 over the A’s in the American League Wild Card Game at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals ran their way into the postseason history books in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game against the A’s — setting a playoff record with four stolen bases in one inning.
The Royals rattled off furious rallies in the eighth and ninth innings against the A’s bullpen to erase a four-run deficit and send Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game into extra innings.
When the stakes and pressure rise, athletes frequently remind themselves that they’re playing the same carefree game they did as youths. For Giants catcher Buster Posey and a couple of his Pittsburgh Pirates opponents, Wednesday night’s National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park (5 p.m. PT on ESPN) truly will recall bygone days.
John Holdzkom is the ultimate definition of an “X factor.” The 6-foot-7 right-hander is unfamiliar to opponents and his downhill stuff — cutter, splitter and palmball — could be a valuable weapon for the Pirates.
Old information is better than no information at all, particularly in a must-win situation such as the National League Wild Card Game. Each team will seek any edge it can find. To that end, Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Chris Stewart told his teammates everything he knew about a former teammate: Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco’s starter in Wednesday’s showdown at PNC Park.
With manager Bruce Bochy calling outfielder Michael Morse “doubtful” for Wednesday’s National League Wild Card Game, the main question regarding the Giants’ roster for the do-or-die contest now seems to be just how many pitchers the team will carry — and who exactly they will be.
For both the Giants and Pirates, the 2014 regular season was full of ups and downs, highs and lows. All led to the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, and both teams couldn’t be happier.
The constellations and the pitching schedule aligned perfectly, allowing Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner — with his 11-4 record and 2.22 ERA in 18 road starts this season — to start Wednesday’s National League Wild Card Game (5 p.m. PT, ESPN) against the Pirates at PNC Park. But the truth is, any big game anywhere is Bumgarner time.