When the eighth inning of Game 4 of the American League Division Series started, the Royals had a 3.2 percent chance of winning. They were six outs away from being sent home after four games into the postseason. The Houston Astros had just finished a three-run seventh off of Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera. But postseason baseball thrives on chaos. And when it's applied to the Royals, well, things tend to get real weird. The Royals did the improbable. They not only retook the lead but went on to win it 9-6.
The Astros were trying to head to the American League Championship Series. The Royals were trying to stay alive and force a fifth game at home in Kansas City. The Royals had already squandered a chance to tie the game in the top of the seventh when Terrance Gore pinch ran for Salvador Perez, stole second, then got called out at third when he tried to steal third. "The biggest moment of the game," it was called at the time.
The eighth started on five straight singles. But the key moment was a ball hit to the Astros shortstop Carlos Correa that he didn't glove, resulting in an error to tie the game 6-6. A baseball that had so much English on it, it traveled across the Atlantic and back to Europe. Even more so, the Astros had padded their slim 3-2 lead on a two-run-shot by Correa, then followed by a solo shot at the bat of Colby Rasmus. All seemed lost.
The eighth inning scoffed at the weight of the seventh. After the Royals tied the game, Drew Butera drew ball four after a 10-pitch plate appearance. The bases had just reloaded and Alex Gordon was at the plate, swinging through the first pitch he saw. It's feast or famine time and you've just lost all recollection of who you're rooting for and why. Everything's turned upside down because that's playoff baseball.
For fans who don't have a particular team to cheer for, this is a unique high. Because it's chaos and no matter what happens you've been sucked in. Good luck getting out of that.
Gordon's just eeked a little nubber to second base for the second out but guess what, the Royals' go-ahead run just scored and the Astros are facing the reality that they're no longer in the lead. They might not be going to the ALCS after all. The Royals eyed that win like a famished lion who hadn't seen prey in weeks. Alex Rios reloaded the bases for the third time. Paulo Orlando pinch ran for Rios.
Alcides Escobar, with the chance to bust the game wide open with the bases packed, strikes out looking on the sixth pitch of the at-bat. And the Royals dugout is seen exploding with discontent at the call. It might have been a hair high. But in the end, the Royals leave the top of the eighth with a 7-6 lead. And to make sure of it, Eric Hosmer drilled a two-run shot to right. Wade Davis closed it out and the Royals are still alive despite a 3.2 percent chance when the eighth started.