KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All that’s really been missing from the Royals’ tremendous surge to first place in the American League Central has been the dramatic, like a sensational walk-off homer.
OK, check that off the list.
With the Royals reeling and heading toward their third straight loss, Alex Gordon awoke a sleeping offense with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to rescue Kansas City in a 2-1 win over Minnesota.
With the win, the Royals stayed 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place Detroit.
Gordon belted the second pitch from Twins closer Glen Perkins 394 feet over the right-field wall after Alcides Escobar led off the ninth with a single.
It was the Royals’ third walk-off win this season.
"I didn’t think I got all of it," Gordon said. "I thought the right fielder had it. Then I saw it get over (the fence). Great feeling for us."
Gordon said he thought he got a slider that hung a little.
"He’s always a tough guy to face," Gordon said. "He throws strikes, got good stuff."
Manager Ned Yost naturally was thrilled with the win, which helped avoid a three-game skid.
"I’d much rather win with a comfortable lead," he said. "… But I’ll take any win I can get."
The only disappointment for Yost was the crowd size — just 13,847 fans.
"Sure, I’m glad that 13,000 fans could see a great game," Yost said with more than a hint of sarcasm. "… It’s just that we’ve worked hard for years to get a team that can compete for a championship.
"I want the fans to enjoy it. We need their electricity and we need their energy."
— Duffy was fantastic. A big hat tip to left-hander Danny Duffy, who deserved a far better fate. Duffy shut down the Twins on four hits and gave up just one run through 6 2/3 innings. He walked two, struck out four and faced the minimum through five innings. Duffy preferred to talk about Gordon afterward.
"I was in the training room and I just happened to say, ‘All we need is a bloop and a blast.’ Then Esky got the bloop and Gordo kind of got the blast. It’ll do. This should really pump some life into us after we’d lost a couple."
— The great defense. Lost in the shuffle were some great defensive plays — an acrobatic snare in the hole by Escobar and a leaping throw across the diamond … a terrific grab of a foul pop by Billy Butler near the stands (and Butler fell over Christian Colon in the process but held onto the ball) … a great double-play turn by Colon.
"Those things always seem to get overlooked because we see them every night," Yost said.
— Gordon’s quote. After Yost somewhat chastised Royals fans for not showing up, Gordon was more diplomatic: "Maybe they were just tired from cheering for (Derek Jeter) Monday night. Maybe they needed to rest a night."
— Josh’s day. Royals fans have been screaming for Yost to start Josh Willingham every day. Willingham got the start Tuesday and was not good. First, he killed a promising rally in the second when the Royals had runners on first and second with none out; he grounded into a double play. It was his third double play in just 37 at-bats with Kansas City. He had a runner on in each of his next two at-bats and got called out looking each time.
— Dyson’s pickoffs. For the second time in two games, Jarrod Dyson led off an inning by reaching first and then promptly got picked off first. When a team is scuffling for runs as the Royals are now, mistakes like that are just killers.
— No complaints. Nothing else comes to mind when you get something as thrilling as a walk-off, which doesn’t happen much in these parts.