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Royals Walk-Off Game 1, But Settle for Doubleheader Split

By Larry Lachman, 05/02/23, 6:45PM CDT


You live by the sword, and you die by the sword.  Brad Stanford came up clutch for the Royals, roping an RBI double over the outfielders and to the wall in game 1 to give the Royals a walk-off 11 – 10 victory against Silverman’s Rangers.  One hour later, the Royals took a 9 – 8 lead to the bottom of the sixth inning against Alford’s Iron Pigs but were unable to complete the sweep as the bottom of the Pigs’ lineup came through to score two runs and complete their come-from-behind victory 10 – 9 over the Royals.

Stanford and Charles Lachman ran hot in both games.  Lachman, from the leadoff spot, went 5 – 6, walking twice, scoring four runs, and driving in an RBI.  Four of his five hits went for two bases.  Stanford, batting second, went 5 – 7, walked once, scored two runs, and drove in three RBIs.

In the opener, the Royals and Rangers clashed in a thrilling game one, a matchup that proved to be a seesaw battle.  The Rangers broke out of the gate early when they scored four runs in the top of the first with a Jake Morris triple to lead the game off, followed by five singles.  The Royals quickly responded in the bottom half of the first, unleashing a flurry of hits and scoring six runs to take the lead as they cycled through their lineup for the sixth time this year.  Back-to-back bases on balls to Lachman and Stanford preceded Darius Wu’s 3-run blast.  It would be the first of Wu’s 3-run homeruns on the day.  Not to be outdone, Tim Kaminski dialed long distance for his 13th homer of the year.  With the score tied at 4 – 4, the Royals loaded the bases with two outs, and Jorge Rivera picked up where he left off last week, as he rifled a line drive into the left centerfield gap for a clutch, 2-run double.  6 – 4.

The Royals and Rangers matched zeroes and single runs over the next two innings, with the Royals turning the 5–4–3 double play to end the second. 

The Rangers kept the pressure on, scoring three runs in the fourth inning to tie the game at 7 – 7.  However, the Royals would not be denied, and they retook the lead in the bottom of the frame with a clutch, two-out, RBI double from Stanford, driving in Lachman, who had singled earlier in the inning – a pattern that would repeat itself later in the game.

The Rangers surged back in the fifth inning, taking a 10 – 8 lead with a Brian Babbitt single, followed by a 2-run homer from Dalton Fallaw.  The Royals needed to respond and so they did in the bottom of the frame when Kaminski singled and Drew Waggoner blasted a 2-run homerun – the Royals’ third long ball of the game – tying the game once again.

As the game headed into the sixth inning, it was still anyone's game.  The Royals held the Rangers scoreless in the top of the inning, giving themselves a chance to win it in the bottom of the frame as time expired.  Lachman came up big yet again as he doubled – his fourth straight at-bat where he reached base safely – to set the stage for Stanford’s walk-off.

Game 1 Offensive Stars

Charles Lachman  2 – 2, 3 Runs, 2 BB, 2B
Brad Stanford  2 – 3, 1 Run, 2 RBI, BB, (2) 2B,
Drew Waggoner  2 – 3, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, HR
Tim Kaminski  2 – 3, 1 Run, 1 RBI, HR
Jon Kilburn  2 – 3, 1 Run, 1 RBI
Darius Wu  1 – 3, 1 Run, 3 RBI,
Jorge Rivera  1 – 3, 2 RBI, 2B

However, the Royals’ joy was short-lived as they faced off against the Iron Pigs in the high-stakes battle for the divisional lead.  Since 2015, every Royals vs Iron Pigs game had been close and competitive.  This game was no different – a nail-biting affair that saw the lead change hands six times, and had the crowd on the edge of their seats.  Both teams exchanged blows, but in the end, it was Ozzie Zurita's clutch hit, a Texas leaguer to shallow right centerfield that fell in front of a diving Waggoner, that lifted the Iron Pigs over the Royals in a thrilling game that went down to the wire with a final score of 10 – 9.

The Iron Pigs took a 3 – 1 lead to the bottom of the second and were threatening to extend their lead with runners on first and third and nobody out.  With lightning reflexes, Royals’ pitcher, Brad Parr lunged to backhand a scorching hot smash that was headed straight for center field.  He froze the runner on third, started the 1–4–3 double play, and shut down the inning without allowing a single run to cross home plate.

The score remained 3 – 1 in favor of the Iron Pigs heading into the top of the third.  The Royals knew they had to respond, and boy, did they ever.  With the crack of the bat, three home runs flew out of the park.   The Iron Pigs looked on in dismay as Tony Lowery and Stanford set the table with singles before Wu stepped up and sent his second 3-run homer of the doubleheader soaring over the left field fence.  The Royals weren't done yet, though, as Kaminski and Waggoner both smacked solo shots to give the Royals a 6 – 3 lead.

After the Royals extended their lead to 7 – 4 in the top of the fourth, former Royal, Adriano Rodriguez, hit a 2-run round-tripper in the bottom half to narrow the score to 7 – 6.

Wu singled to lead off the Royals’ half of the fifth with the Royals leading 7 – 6.  Kaminski followed and scorched a screaming bullet headed toward left field that Ryan Alford laid out to make a horizontal, full-extension, diving catch 6’ off the ground to rob Kaminski.  It was a truly remarkable play; a play that completely changed the complexion of the inning.  Had Alford not made his web gem, the Royals would have had the bases loaded and nobody out as Liam Kilburn drew a base on balls to follow.  However, even with runners on first and second and only one out, the Royals failed to score in the fifth, and the Iron Pigs scored two in the bottom half to retake the lead.

Trailing 8 – 7 heading to the top of the sixth, the Royals scored two more.  With one out, Tae Lee tripled and scored on Rivera’s sac fly to tie the game.  Lowery reached base via an error and moved to third on Lachman’s fourth double of the doubleheader.  Stanford’s clutch, two-out RBI single broke the tie and set him up to potentially have the game-winning RBI in both games of their doubleheader.

Alas, it was not meant to be as the bottom of the Iron Pigs lineup came through – with a little bit of help from the Royals’ defense – to score two runs and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Game 2 Offensive Stars

Charles Lachman  3 – 4, 1 Run, 1 RBI, (3) 2B 
Brad Stanford  3 – 4, 1 Run, 1 RBI
Darius Wu  2 – 3, 1 Run, 4 RBI,
Tae Lee  2 – 3, 2 Runs, 3B
Tim Kaminski  1 – 3, 1 Run, 1 RBI,
Drew Waggoner  1 – 3, 1 Run, 1 RBI, HR

Royals Walk-Off Game 1, But Settle for Doubleheader Split