Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Alex Gordon's Golden Gem Saves Royals in Game 4

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Alex Gordon's Golden Gem Saves Royals in Game 4

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As a rookie back in 2007, he got his first taste of what the phrase "Be Royal" used to mean. His club lost 93 games that year.

Two years later, he found himself back in Omaha, Neb., having been demoted to Triple-A and forced to change positions. The Royals tumbled through a 97-loss campaign along the way.

Even as he emerged as one of the best left fielders in baseball from 2010-12, things didn't get much better in Kansas City. The Royals averaged 92 losses in each of those three seasons.

So, yes, it's safe to say Alex Gordon deserves this. Maybe more than anyone.

Now the team's longest-tenured player -- appearing in his first postseason -- the do-everything Gold Glover has built a reputation that he would run through a wall if it meant keeping his team and his city from returning to those losing days.

On Wednesday in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, he did just that, making one of the most remarkable and important catches of his career to lift the Royals to the World Series.

"Everybody else was having their fun the last couple days," Gordon would later say, "so I figured I'd join the party and try to make a play."

Let's set the table:

- The Royals are nursing a one-run lead -- what else is new? - - in the top of the fifth inning. They are 15 outs away from their first World Series berth since 1985 and a series sweep of the Baltimore Orioles.

- KC starter Jason Vargas has been shaky, so more importantly, the Royals are six critical outs away from getting to the three- headed cyborg of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland waiting in their bullpen.

- Shortstop J.J. Hardy, leading off the fifth for the Orioles, gets an 87 mph changeup inside on a 1-2 count and absolutely crushes it toward left.

Gordon gets a good read. The ball soars to the warning track, as does the left fielder. Then, right as he reaches the edge of the warning track, he leaves his feet, extending his arm as high as it will go.

Ball meets glove, and if you can believe it, the easiest part of the play is over. …

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