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, Mo. (AP) — Salvador Perez made a young fan’s night by
coming through on his promise to hit a home run.A few hours later, a couple kids
on the Kansas City Royals hit their own memorable shots.Ryan O’Hearn and Hunter
Dozier became the first rookies ever to hit back-to-back home runs to tie and
win a game in the ninth inning, lifting the Kansas City Royals over the
Cleveland Indians 5-4 on Friday night.O’Hearn and Dozier went deep off closer
Cody Allen leading off the ninth, capping a wild finish that followed an odd
game featuring a 30-minute delay when a broken water pipe near Kauffman
Stadium’s outfield fountains led to flooding on the warning track.“This is an
incredible game, fun to be a part of,” Royals rookie right-hander Brad Keller
said. “That ninth inning was so wild. I’ve never seen back-to-back homers to
walk off a game. It was crazy. It’s fun. Baseball every day is different. That’s
what makes it fun.”It started before the game, when six-time All-Star catcher
Perez guaranteed a fan in a wheelchair, Colin Couch, that he would hit a home
run after meeting him before the game.After Whit Merrifield opened the game with
a walk and Alex Gordon followed with a single, Perez made good on the promise by
smashing a 454-foot, opposite-field home run — the longest by any Royal this
season — into Kauffman Stadium’s iconic right field fountains.“We were talking
and I said, ‘I’ll hit a homer for you today ,
OK?'” Perez said. “He was so happy and all that. After I hit a homer I was
looking, he was close to my family in the family (seating), so he was
excited.”Yonder Alonso socked a two-out, two-run home run off Brandon Maurer to
put Cleveland ahead 4-3 in the eighth. Alonso also went deep in the fourth,
marking his fifth career multihomer game and second this season.O’Hearn and
Dozier then rescued Kansas City from a sixth straight loss with their homers off
Allen. O’Hearn, a rookie first baseman, tied it with a blast into the left field
bullpen, and Dozier followed with a wall-scraper to right-center field.“I was
just honestly trying to get a fastball to hit,” said Dozier, who has seven home
runs. “I wanted to hit it out.”It was the fourth blown save of the season for
Allen (4-5), whose ERA climbed to 4.50 in the loss. Wily Peralta (1-0) picked up
the victory for the Royals, who were fresh off a four-game sweep at the Tampa
Bay Rays.LEAKY SITUATIONThe fountains sprang a leak during the fourth inning.
Relievers in the Royals bullpen jumped and yelled to alert game officials and
maintenance workers J.R.
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, triggering the stoppage.“I thought I was back in
the minor leagues,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Nobody knew what was
going on.”As maintenance personnel worked to stop the flow of water, more than a
dozen grounds crew members armed with squeegees wicked water from the warning
track as it poured from under the fence. They also created a sandbag barrier to
keep standing water from reaching the outfield grass.Rookie right-hander Brad
Keller shrugged off the unusual delay, which came after Yan Gomes‘ two-out
double, and struck out Greg Allen to get of the inning with the lead intact.SEE
YAHome plate umpire Ramon DeJesus ejected Royals bench coach Dale Sveum during
Brantley’s at-bat leading off the eighth inning. It was Sveum’s 16th career
ejection — 10 as a manager, five as an assistant coach and once as a
player.TRAINER’S ROOMRoyals: RHP Ian Kennedy (left oblique strain) threw a
simulated game. Kennedy hasn’t pitched since July 10 at Minnesota. … RF Jorge
Soler (left toe fracture) took some swings against Kennedy during the simulated
game. … RHP Jesse Hahn underwent surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament
in his pitching elbow a few weeks ago. It was not a reconstruction, commonly
known as Tommy John surgery, but Hahn is expected to be sidelined at least six
months. He suffered the UCL strain in March and had worked his way back to
Triple-A through the rehab process, which started last month, before the
surgery.Indians: LHP Andrew Miller (right knee inflammation) returned Aug. 3
from the 60-day disabled list, but he’s only appeared in nine games during the
last three weeks. Indians manager Terry Francona said Friday that the priority
is using Miller in situations when a win is on the line. When he’s not
available, it taxes the bullpen — which is down to seven pitchers ,
including two situational arms. Relief will come when the rosters expand Sept.
1. … RHP Nick Goody has been sidelined with right elbow inflammation since May
3. He will have season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his elbow “sometime next
week,” but the ulnar collateral ligament is intact, Francona said. … RHP Cody
Anderson pitched off the mound in Arizona for the first time since having Tommy
John surgery in March 2017.UP NEXTTwo-time Cy Young Award winner RHP Corey
Kluber (16-6) gets the nod for the Indians in the second game of a three-game
series. He is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two previous starts this season against the
Royals, who send rookie RHP Heath Filmyer (1-1) for the 6:15 p.m. first pitch.
DENVER (AP) — Charlie Blackmon’s bushy beard dripped with bubbly, while Carlos
Gonzalez cheerfully soaked up all the spray coming at him from every direction.
Nolan Arenado posed for picture after picture as teammates got selfies with
him.Think this party scene was wild, hold on. The Colorado Rockies are hoping to
exchange those hats that read, “Postseason,” for ones that say, “NL West
Champions.”Now that would really be a party.The NL West-leading Rockies locked
up a playoff berth for the second straight season, beating the Washington
Nationals 5-2 on Friday night for their eighth win in a row behind a resilient
start from Kyle Freeland.David Dahl homered for the fifth consecutive game and
Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer against his former team to help Colorado clinch
at least a wild card with two games remaining. The Rockies remained one game
ahead of Los Angeles as they try to wrap up the franchise’s first division
crown. The Dodgers won 3-1 in San Francisco.“It’s a playoff atmosphere,” Arenado
said. “The good thing about us is we’ve been in a playoff atmosphere before. We
know how to handle it.”Colorado can take the NL West title — and end Los
Angeles’ five-year reign — with a win Saturday and a Dodgers loss.Wade Davis
struck out Bryce Harper looking to end the game and earn his 43rd save. The
sellout crowd at Coors Field roared and fireworks went off.Plenty to celebrate:
The Rockies are headed to the postseason in back-to-back years for the first
time in team history. This is their fifth playoff trip since the franchise began
in 1993 — last year, they lost to Arizona in the NL wild-card game.“It’s just
incredible Craig
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,” said Freeland, who grew up in Denver and was a big
Rockies fan. “I dreamt of this as a little kid and never thought I’d be in this
position to do it. But the work is not done.”Freeland (17-7) wiggled out of jam
after jam on a cool night to finish the season with a 2.40 ERA in games at the
hitter-friendly ballpark. The lefty allowed two runs and 11 hits over six
innings before turning it over to a staunch bullpen.The Rockies’ winning streak
is their longest since capturing eight straight in April 2013. During the
current streak, the Rockies have outscored opponents by a 57-12 margin.With
posters around the stadium billing this as “The Hunt for Rocktober,” the team
improved to 18-8 in September. They’re on a quest to end the Dodgers’ five-year
reign as division champions.Freeland found himself in trouble quite often, but
was able to work his way out of it. His one big mistake was a fastball in the
fourth that Trea Turner lined for a two-out, two-run triple to give the
Nationals a 2-1 lead.Desmond put the Rockies up 3-2 in the fifth with his 22nd
homer of the season. Two pitches later, Chris Iannetta went deep. It was the
fifth time the Rockies have hit back-to-back homers this season.With his solo
shot in the sixth, Dahl became the fourth Rockies player to homer in five
straight games. He joins Dante Bichette (1995), Larry Walker (1999) and Arenado
(2015).Freeland finished with a 2.85 ERA overall this season. He joins Marvin
Freeman (2.80, 1994) and Ubaldo Jimenez (2.88, 2010) as the only Rockies
pitchers who qualified for the league ERA title with a mark below 3.00.Joe Ross
(0-2) allowed four runs over five innings in his third start since undergoing
Tommy John surgery last year.“I felt OK. The last couple innings, my stuff kind
of flattened out George
Springer Jersey
,” Ross said. “That’s frustrating, the team had the
lead and then I give it right back.”The party in the Rockies clubhouse was wild,
but not too wild for one reason.“This is just the first step,” Gonzalez said.
“We understand we have a big chance in front of us.”TRAINER’S ROOMNationals: INF
Ryan Zimmerman was out of the starting lineup with a sore back and the team
plans to take a cautious approach. “I don’t want him to start the offseason
worried about rehabbing,” manager Dave Martinez said.Rockies: LHP Tyler
Anderson’s sore shoulder is a “little better,” manager Bud Black said. “He seems
to be trending in the right direction.”PAIR OF ACESWashington will throw
right-hander Stephen Strasburg (9-7, 3.77 ERA) on Saturday. But whether NL Cy
Young candidate Max Scherzer (18-7, 2.53) starts Sunday largely depends on
what’s still at stake for the Rockies.“We’re going to relish the moment,”
Arenado said of possibly facing two aces. “You have to face the best pitchers in
the game to get where you want to be.”UP NEXTThe Rockies will send RHP Jon Gray
(12-8, 4.91 ERA) to the mound Saturday against Strasburg, who’s looking to hit
the 10-win mark for a fifth straight season.
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