Drama was dripping off the walls at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City Thursday night as the Twins rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth inning to come from behind and beat the Royals 4-2.
Most important is that the win, coupled with the Angels taking the day off and the Orioles losing to the Yankees, puts the Twins back in control of the second Wild Card in the American League, a game ahead of the Angels and two in front of the Orioles.
But the ninth was one to remember.
A bloop single by Jason Castro down the left-field line, which was nearly caught by a retreating, then sliding Alcides Escobar, put runners at first and second with one out. Robbie Grossman walked to load the bases for Brian Dozier, who launched a deep fly to the left-field corner where Gold Glove outfielder Alex Gordon made a leaping catch while slamming into the wall.
Good enough, though. The out resulted in a sacrifice fly, tying the game 2-2.
Joe Mauer, who was 3-for-3 on the night, was intentionally walked to once again load the bases, this time for Jorge Polanco, who made it a 4-2 game with a hard single to center.
"When I went to the plate, the first thing I was thinking was he had to throw me a strike," Polanco said after the game, via the Twins. "So I just waited for my pitch and he threw it in the zone, and I hit it."
Matt Belisle pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his ninth save of the season.
Game 2 of the four-game series is Friday night. Ervin Santana is on the mound for the Twins.