KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Royals manager Ned Yost and outfielder Jeff Francoeur both had been ejected long before the ninth inning of Thursday night’s game against Milwaukee, so they had to settle for watching its dramatic conclusion on television.
They both saw Brayan Pena deliver an RBI single to tie the game.
Neither of them saw Jarrod Dyson cross home plate with the winning run.
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“I don’t know what happened! They didn’t do a real good job of showing it on TV,” Yost said with a broad smile in the moments afterward. “Frenchy and I were watching it on TV and started pushing each other, and all of a sudden, Dyson is sliding across home plate.”
Pena had rounded first base when Brewers shortstop Edwin Maysonet cut off the throw from left field, and he made the mistake of firing to second base. That allowed the speedy Dyson to take off for home, his slide giving the Royals a 4-3 victory and three-game sweep.
“Ned had to pull me back because I was going to run out there and celebrate,” Francoeur said. “He had to remind me that you can’t go back down there after you’ve been thrown out.”
The wild ninth inning began when Mitch Maier reached first base while striking out on a wild pitch against Brewers closer John Axford (1-3), who also blew a save chance the previous night.
Milwaukee had pulled ahead in the eighth when Carlos Gomez singled off Luke Hochevar, and Maysonet laid down a sacrifice to get him into scoring position. Pinch-hitter Cody Ransom singled to left off reliever Jose Mijares to give Milwaukee the lead.
The run put Shaun Marcum in line to pick up his fourth straight win — at least, until everything unraveled for the second straight night for Axford.
He allowed Escobar’s two-run triple in the ninth inning on Wednesday night, and the Royals went on to win the game when Mike Moustakas drew a bases-loaded walk in the 11th inning.
“Even when I felt good today and was hitting my spots, except for one bad pitch, it still didn’t work out in my favor,” Axford said. “I felt great. Everything was coming out straight, everything was coming out fine.”
For a while, everything was going just fine.
Axford struck out Maier to lead off the ninth, but the pitch in the dirt skipped away and Maier went to first base. Axford rallied to retire Moustakas and Alcides Escobar.
That brought up the light-hitting Dyson, who managed to draw a walk. Pena came in to pinch hit for Humberto Quintero and singled to left, the start of a bizarre ending to a ballgame.
“I was trying to make good contact, put the ball in play,” Pena said. “I knew we had some speed on the base paths. I just tried to make something happen.”
Tim Collins (4-0) worked the ninth inning to pick up the win for the Royals, who wrapped up a three-game sweep to build some momentum for their upcoming road trip.
Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez each homered for Milwaukee, which got 7 2-3 innings from Shaun Marcum in one of his best performances of the year. The only real mistake he made was the two-run homer he served up to Eric Hosmer in the seventh inning.
“We played a good game until that last inning,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “Same thing. We let it get away again.”
Francoeur and Yost had both ended up in the clubhouse by the fourth inning.
The outfielder was ejected in the second inning by plate umpire Dan Iassogna for arguing a called third strike, and Yost was tossed when he started arguing with Iassogna over a bunt attempt by the Brewers’ Nyjer Morgan a couple of innings later.
It was a particularly embarrassing ejection for Francoeur, who is the namesake of a promotion for Thursday night home games. Fans can purchase tickets for $21 — his jersey number — and receive a T-shirt, drink coupon and seat in the “Frenchy Quarter” section overlooking right field.
Several hundred fans wearing the yellow shirts booed as Francoeur was ejected.
“I might have to invite them all out for a `Frenchy Quarter’ Wednesday,” he said.
NOTES: The Royals optioned 1B Clint Robinson to Triple-A Omaha and purchased the contract of RHP Roman Colon. … Kansas City signed its second-round draft pick, Vanderbilt LHP Sam Selman. … Alice Cooper threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … Milwaukee travels to Minnesota for a three-game series starting Friday night. RHP Yovani Gallardo gets the start. The Royals head to St. Louis for a three-game series with RHP Vin Mazzaro on the mound.