Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Dinky First Hit for Hosmer in Series Propels Royals

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Dinky First Hit for Hosmer in Series Propels Royals

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The swing was not vintage Eric Hosmer.

His butt was, well, "in our dugout,'' according to teammate Mike Moustakas. His bat, much like a delicate chip on the green, was waved with a dead hand. And the ball floated into shallow left field for a bloop hit.

Usually, the Kansas City first baseman unloads every fraction of torque and tries -- often with some level of violence -- to drive the baseball.

Yet the sixth inning Friday in Game 2 of the American League Division Series required a different approach to trigger a rally and enable the Royals to nip the Houston Astros 5-4 in Kauffman Stadium.

"I was just battling, trying not to strike out and put the ball in play,'' Hosmer said of his encounter with Oliver Perez, the nasty Houston reliever who mixes a wicked fastball and slider.

"That's one thing everyone says about our team. We don't strike out a lot, we get a lot of lucky hits and (the stab Hosmer made) might be a reason why.''

The Royals had trailed ever since the Astros made it in from New York spewing rocket fuel from their wild-card win. But in the sixth, Lorenzo Cain laced a one-out double to bring Hosmer to the plate as an 0-for-6 hitter in the playoffs.

That's exactly how Hosmer looked too, getting in a hole with two strikes -- hitless, and helpless.

Then he went rogue. By simply sticking out his bat, Hosmer scored Cain. The bloop looked like a well-placed, dead-handed wedge.

"Maybe you should tell him that,'' Moustakas said. "He doesn't think he can play golf.''

Hosmer's dink was only the beginning to a strange frame. Kendrys Morales followed Hosmer and hit a ball into the ground that bounced right through one of the Astros' many shifts.

Later, with the bases loaded, Salvador Perez drew a bases-loaded walk to forge a 4-4 tie. The KC catcher walked just 13 times during the regular season, yet was issued four straight balls -- the last one he barely avoided to stay off concussion protocol.

The momentum the Royals had lacked since the ALDS began finally shifted. A triple to begin the seventh by Alcides Escobar -- what a leadoff man! …

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