(Reuters) - The Kansas City players were unfazed when they faced a four-run deficit late in their playoff game against the Houston Astros on Monday, manager Ned Yost said after the Royals pulled off a brilliant comeback.
Down 2-1 in the best-of-five series and facing an early elimination from the postseason, the never-say-die Royals rallied from 2-6 down in Game Four at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
They exploded with a five-run eighth inning, followed by two insurance runs in the ninth, to complete a 9-6 win.
”The thing about this club is that they don’t quit,“ Yost said during a post-game news conference. ”They don‘t. And after giving up three runs there in the bottom of the seventh, they came in on fire. Again, like they do.
”Come on, let’s go. Get at-bats, let’s start it moving. On base, on base, on base. Let’s go boys. That was an unbelievable inning. I think we ended up seeing 53 pitches in the eighth inning. That just shows you the quality of bats that we had.
“They’re a confident group. (Down) 6-2 in the eighth inning doesn’t look good but it doesn’t faze them. They come into that dugout and they’re on fire, they’re ready to go. It’s like it’s a tied ball game when we’re down one. It didn’t matter.”
The small-market Royals were the fairytale team of the 2014 postseason.
They qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1985 and recovered from four runs down in their Wild Card game against Oakland, subsequently losing the World Series to the San Francisco Giants in seven games.
The Royals carried that form into 2014, compiling the best regular season in the American League, 95-67.
But their season was on the brink before their five-run rally on Monday.
“That’s the thing about this team, we always feel that we are still in games and we still have a chance,” said first baseman Hosmer, who belted a two-run home run in the ninth.
”You look at the beginning of that (eighth) inning there, (Alex) Rios starts it off and then we follow it up by another hit.
“We hit one out of the park or we get a double and we are right back in the game. That’s the mentality for this whole entire team, it’s never quit and the character we showed today, that’s what championship ballclubs do.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Andrew Both