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Archive for Friday, September 6, 2013

Moustakas powers Royals

September 6, 2013

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— Mike Moustakas hit two balls that had chances to go deep.

The first one was just foul down the right-field line, but the second was fair as Moustakas homered to lead off the 13th inning, lifting the Kansas City Royals to a 7-6 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.

Moustakas homered to right on an 0-2 pitch from Chance Ruffin (0-1), who had not pitched in the majors since 2011.

“I knew it was going to get out, but I knew it was going to be foul soon as I hit it,” Moustakas said of the first shot. “I got a little too out in front of it.

“The second one I knew was going to stay fair. I hit it pretty good. I kept my hands in pretty good. It was pretty special with the race we’re in right now.”

The Royals entered the game 51⁄2 back in the wild-card standings.

“Soon as Moose hit the first one, I was hoping it would stay fair,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “When it didn’t, I turned to Hos (Eric Hosmer) and said, ‘Why is fate tempting us, teasing us like this. Why?’

“Normally when somebody hits a long foul ball homer and they’ve got two strikes on them, that’s it. I can’t remember one time I’ve ever seen a guy back it up and hit one fair. So when he hit it fair, it was wow, pretty special.”

Ruffin retired the first five batters he faced, striking out three.

“I was trying to get the fastball down and in,” Ruffin said. “He turned on it pretty good. The one he hit out was supposed to be in. I left it in the middle.”

Louis Coleman (3-0), the eighth Royals pitcher, retired the only batter he faced in the top of the 13th.

Kansas City led 6-5 in the ninth inning before Raul Ibanez homered off Greg Holland into the Mariners’ bullpen with two outs to tie the score. It was Holland’s first blown save since May 6 to end his streak of 31 consecutive saves.

“He throws 100 (mph) and he has a really good slider,” Ibanez said. “I was trying to swing easy, thinking base hit, a single. He threw a slider and I got it in the air to right field. Sometimes if a guy is not throwing too hard you might look to do some damage, but when a guy is throwing that hard you can’t try to do too much.”

The Royals play their next 12 games against the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians, the two teams in front of them in the AL Central.

“Every game is crucial and extremely important,” Yost said. “We’ve seen our players do this the majority of the year. They don’t believe if we’re down by five we’re out of it or we’re going to lose the game.”

Billy Butler went 5-for-5, matching his career high in hits for the Royals, while Emilo Bonifacio went 4-for-6 for his first four-hit game since July 4, 2009.

“It’s not easy to come back from a five-run deficit,” Butler said. “That shows the resiliency of this team. Every game at this point is a must win.”

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