Wednesday had barely dawned when the luckiest man in America had been crowned.
Tha would be Kansas City Royals Manager Ned Yost, whose team got him off the hook with a 12th-inning rally for a 9-8 victory over Oaklans in the American League wild-card game. For several innings Tuesday night, Yost found himself roasted for his sixth-inning decision to take out starting pitcher James Shields, who had thrown only 88 pitches, in order to bring in rookie Yordano Ventura to face Brandon Moss, who had earlier hit a two-run homer. Ventura, who had thrown 73 pitches Sunday, was an odd choice, when Yost had an array of other options.
Moss socked a three-run homer for a 5-3 lead and the situation looked grim, especially to former pitcher Pedro Martinez, now a TBS analyst. He wasn’t having any of Yost’s postgame explanations. “Anything you say that wasn’t ‘I screwed up and I almost threw the game away’ will sound bad, and that’s horrible,” Martinez said. “…There’s no need to bring another starter in this situation. You have [Brandon] Finnegan in there. You can bring the lefty. You have [Danny] Duffy. You can use anybody against Moss … I think this is another panic move from Ned Yost. He almost gave the game away. If Kansas City ends up losing that game, Ned Yost would have been the ugly goat heading out of Kansas City today.”
But they didn’t and he wasn’t.
The Royals managed to win their first postseason game in 29 years when Salvador Perez smacked a two-out slider from Jason Hammel down the left-field line, scoring Christian Colon. Yost lives to manage another day, this time in the AL Division Series against the Los Angeles Angels. He’ll do so in spite of headlines like “New Yost shows why he’s a terrible manager,” “Royals defeat A’s, Ned Yost in Epic Play-In Game,” and “Ned Yost wanted ‘the gas,’ and nearly torched the Royals.” #Yosted was trending on Twitter and not in a good way.
In the end, though, the Royals were winners and all Yost could say was: “That’s the most incredible game I’ve ever been a part of.”
Even George Brett was surprised by the finish.