Cincinnati Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost made seven pitching changes and starting thinking about which position player might take the mound if the game kept going.
Felt like he was back in the National League all over again.
The former Brewers manager used his entire bullpen to prevent the Cincinnati Reds from pulling off yet another last-minute win Friday night, and Yuniesky Betancourt completed his big game with a run-scoring single in the 11th inning, sending the Royals to a 6-5 interleague victory.
“That was National League ball right there,” said Yost, who took over when Trey Hillman was fired last month. “We pulled every string we could pull to try to win that game, and it worked out good. Everybody had a part in this one tonight. I had one player left and I was saving him in case I had to pitch a position player.”
Betancourt let the Royals — who arrived in town at 3 a.m. — finally relax. He had an RBI double and a two-run homer that put Kansas City up 5-4.
“He killed us all night,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We had plenty of opportunities. It’s tough, especially when you’ve been so good at picking up baserunners.”
The Reds lead the majors in comeback wins, pulling out 12 of them in their last at-bat. They tied it in the eighth, but stranded runners in scoring position in each of the last three innings.
Micah Owings (3-2) set up the Royals’ final rally by walking Billy Butler and Brayan Pena, who is only 2-for-18 this season. Betancourt singled to center, breaking the tie with KC’s first hit since his homer in the sixth inning.
“It was a long game for both teams,” said Butler, who scored when Drew Stubbs’ off-line throw was cut off. “We had a late night getting here. I was doing all I could to score there.”
Victor Marte (1-0) escaped a two-on threat in the 10th. Joakim Soria retired Scott Rolen on a sharply hit fly ball with runners on first and third to end it, getting his 15th save in 17 tries. Soria was KC’s eighth pitcher.