(ABC)–Lorenzo Cain capped a three-run ninth inning with a two-out single to left, bringing home Mike Moustakas and giving the Kansas City Royals a 7-6 victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
Tanner Roark lasted into the eighth inning for Washington, but he was relieved by Felipe Rivero with runners on the corners and one out. Eric Hosmer grounded into a fielder’s choice to make it 6-4.
Rivero got through the rest of the inning and turned the lead over to Jonathan Papelbon (1-1), who served up back-to-back singles to start the ninth. After Omar Infante struck out, Moustakas came on to pinch hit and guided a single through the left side to knot the game 6-all.
Alcides Escobar kept the line moving with a single to center, and Cain ripped a liner into the gap in left-center to keep the Royals from losing for the seventh time in eight games.
Chien-Ming Wang (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless ninth inning.
Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy hit early homers, and Jayson Werth hit one late for Washington. The Nationals coaxed across three runs in the sixth inning, giving them what looked like an insurmountable lead against the sluggish Kansas City offense.
Luke Hochevar allowed those three runs in his only inning of work, the reliever following another subpar outing by Chris Young. He lasted 4 2/3 innings to put a massive burden on his bullpen.
After falling behind on Rendon’s homer in the first, the Royals answered with three runs in the third inning. Escobar tied the game with his RBI single, and hot-hitting Hosmer’s two-out, two-run jab through the right side of the infield gave Kansas City a 3-1 lead.
Murphy went deep in the fourth inning before Washington continued its rally in the sixth, but the Royals hung around long enough to deliver their second walk-off win of the season.
The result? Two clubs on wildly different trajectories changed directions.
The Nationals began their 10-game road trip with a three-game sweep in St. Louis, and were an inning away from being perfect at the midway point. Meanwhile, the Royals (14-12) avoided dropping back to .500 after a hot start to the defense of their World Series championship.