New York The Kansas City Royals are getting a healthy dose of National League baseball on their first trip to Citi Field.
While some of them are familiar with that style of play, they are a bit out of practice with it.
Royals manager Ned Yost found the perfect time to use pinch-hitter Jason Maxwell, and he responded with the tiebreaking homer in the 12th inning to lift Kansas City to a 4-3 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday.
Kansas City squandered a two-run lead in the eighth inning, but got back to a winning way just one day after its nine-game winning streak was broken.
“I got ready like three different times,” the newly acquired Maxwell said of his fifth major-league pinch-homer and first of any kind since joining the Royals last week from Houston. “I think it helps that I have experience in this situation. My first home run was a pinch-hit grand slam, and I hit three pinch-hit home runs last year.”
Maxwell homered deep into the left-field seats leading off the 12th for the Royals, who improved to 8-2 in extra innings after losing in the 11th on Friday.
Maxwell hit a 3-2 pitch from David Aardsma, who had fallen behind 3-0. The New York bullpen had been perfect after starter Jeremy Hefner left after six innings, but Aardsma couldn’t retire the first batter he faced.
“You can’t get behind like that because then you have to give him something to hit,” Aardsma said.
The Mets lost hours after putting All-Star third baseman David Wright on the disabled list because of a hamstring injury. Wright hurt himself running out an infield hit Friday night and is expected to miss 3 to 5 weeks.
“It’s disappointing,” he said. “I kind of came to the realization that I wasn’t going to be able to play today and probably not the next day. I will hopefully get this thing healthy as quickly as I can and get back on the field.”
Kelvin Herrera (4-5) earned the win with three innings of relief in which he walked one and struck out three without giving up a hit.
“I was able to throw breaking balls for strikes, and my changeup was really good,” he said. “I pitched 3 1/3 (innings) in the minors earlier this year, but this was my longest outing here. You have to be ready to pitch whenever you’re asked.”
Greg Holland recorded the final three outs in the 12th for his 29th save in 31 chances and 22nd straight.
Aardsma (2-1), filling in while closer Bobby Parnell is sidelined with a sore neck, blew the save in the ninth inning Friday night before the Mets came back to win on Eric Young Jr.’s homer.
“Role has nothing to do with that,” Aardsma said. “It’s my pitches. It’s attacking first pitch. Up here I’m not thinking of anything about any role, I’m just trying to execute my pitches, and I didn’t do that.”
The Mets, 9-3 in interleague play, provided the comeback Saturday by scoring two runs in the eighth on Josh Satin’s two-run single against Aaron Crow.