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KSU sits atop Big 12 -10/19/2014, 6:42 AM

Early mistakes sink Jayhawks -10/19/2014, 6:41 AM

Tigers nab 'W' at Emporia -10/19/2014, 8:21 PM

Knights secure district, playoff spot -10/19/2014, 6:34 AM

TMP claims MCL tourney title -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Monarchs take team to Class 4A state -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Area prep football roundup, Oct. 17 -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Indian volleyball second at WAC -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

HHS has high expectations for 4A golf finale -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Buhler hands Hays High first loss in blowout -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

FHSU men win eighth straight -10/18/2014, 8:21 PM

FHSU Tiger Open XC results -10/18/2014, 8:21 PM

Tiger women record third consecutive shutout -10/18/2014, 8:20 PM

Tiger volleyball wins third straight match -10/18/2014, 8:20 PM

Indians' Forinash goes 0-2 at 4A state -10/18/2014, 8:20 PM

TMP falls in district opener to Beloit -10/17/2014, 11:46 AM

HHS soccer falls to Bishop Carroll -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

FHSU men's soccer wins seventh straight -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Tigers look to climb back above .500 -10/17/2014, 10:38 AM

HHS fourth in WAC meet -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

TMP boys 2nd, girls 3rd at Lakeside -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

TMP volleyball goes 2-0 in first day at MCL -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Indians' Forinash in 4A state field -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Wichita State's Darius Carter shows off his jumper -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

KVA prep volleyball rankings, Oct. 15 -10/16/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP drops close one to Liberal -10/16/2014, 10:11 AM

TMP gets Beloit in district opener -10/16/2014, 10:11 AM

K.C. headed to first World Series since 1985 -10/16/2014, 10:11 AM

Selden ready to step into bigger role -10/16/2014, 10:11 AM

Big district game for Hays High -10/16/2014, 10:31 AM

Area prep football district standings, Oct. 16 -10/16/2014, 10:11 AM

Royals sweep O's, headed to World Series -10/15/2014, 7:17 PM

Tigers fall in three -10/15/2014, 11:39 AM

Chiefs' Johnson sheds weight in hopes of return -10/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Giants win walk-off on throwing error in 10th -10/15/2014, 10:12 AM

Wildcat running backs looking to break out -10/15/2014, 10:12 AM

Royals one win from World Series -10/15/2014, 11:44 AM

Chiefs' Charles with eyes on the prize -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Parsons, Boxberger qualify in 3-2-1A golf -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Royals getting it done old school -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

KSU prepares for OU -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

HHS golf wins regional — TMP qualifies -10/13/2014, 6:11 PM

Rain postpones ALCS Game 3 -10/13/2014, 5:48 PM

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Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
Walk-off for Royals

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Walk-off for Royals

Published on -8/27/2014, 8:41 AM

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By Blair Kerkhoff

McClatchy-Tribune

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For a team that couldn't hit the ocean falling out of a boat for two games and eight innings, Royals starter Danny Duffy had a feeling in the bottom of the ninth. He knew who was due up.

"You got Gordo coming up and you know something big's going to happen," Duffy said.

Like a charm, Alex Gordon's home run gave the Royals a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Twins that protected Kansas City's 1.5-game lead over the Tigers for first place in the America League Central.

For eight innings, Royals' bats were feeble -- for a third straight game.

After getting solo home runs for their scoring in each of the previous two games, the Royals didn't look like they would muster that against Twins starter Ricky Nolasco in the opener of a three-game series.

Three singles through eight innings, that was the Royals tally, and those led to nothing.

But the ninth...

Alcides "Esky" Escobar opened with a flare to center field off Twins lefty reliever Glen Perkins.

Up stepped Gordon, who took a fastball for strike one.

Perkins' next pitch, a slider, caught too much of the plate and Gordon got all of it, although initially he wasn't certain.

"No, not at all," Gordon said. "It barely got out. I thought the right fielder was on it, possibly off the well so I ran hard. I was so excited when it went over. I was pretty pumped for our team."

The ball crossed the wall just beside the 387 sign in right center and was measured at 394 feet.

The Royals had posted their third walk-off victory of the season, the first by a home run. It marked the second time in Gordon's career that he won a game in such dramatic fashion.

Afterwards, he took the Gatorade bath delivered by Salvador Perez and enjoyed every drop.

"After a walk-off home run, with fans cheering, I figured I'd give them something," Gordon said. "It was pretty cool."

The premonitions in the training room and dugout notwithstanding, the blow allowed the Royals to exhale a bit.

They entered the ninth inning on the verge of dropping their third straight game and wasting a solid starting pitching performance because of a stagnant offense.

Instead, it was Nolasco, in his third start since returning from the disabled list with a right elbow injury, who was in command.

"We watched a lot of video, and that was as good a game as he's pitched all year long," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

He had said something similar about the Rangers' Scott Baker and the Yankees Michael Pineda, the starters who handcuffed the Royals in the previous two games.

Yost said his hitters weren't pressing.

"No, we're done with that," he said. "We just play baseball. It's either you get it done or don't get it done. No excuses."

But Gordon could feel it a little extra burden.

"We showed a little frustration as an offense," Gordon said. "The last three games we really haven't done our jobs. Everyone is trying hard, and yeah there's a little frustration in the dugout.

"But a walk-off home run helps relieve that stress, that frustration."

The Royals put themselves in a position to win it with a two-run homer because of Duffy and excellent defense.

Duffy was nails for six innings, matching Nolasco's zeroes.

"I felt good, I was locating for the most part," Duffy said. "I left a couple of sinkers up."

One, to Joe Mauer, put the Twins ahead in the seventh. Brian Dozier opened the inning by grounding a double down the left-field line. Mauer followed with a well-placed single.

But the Royals also turned two nifty double plays and got a magnificent play from Escobar in the seventh that prevented more damage in the inning. Escobar went deep in the hole to glove Kenny Vargas' grounder and one-hopped the throw to Billy Butler in time for the out.

Butler also pitched in with his glove.

In the third, he worked like a Gold Glover, first tracking down Kurt Suzuki's foul pop near the tarp.

The hustling catch was nifty enough, but Butler held on to the ball after tripping over second baseman Christian Colon.

Two batters later, Butler gloved a two-hopper in the hole and got the ball to Duffy smoothly enough to nip the sliding Jordan Schafer.

All of that kept the game within reach, but it looked like the Royals wouldn't catch it, until Gordon's swing in the ninth.

"It's a lot of fun playing games like that," Duffy said.

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