Not often you see a dude round first and get mobbed under a pig-pile of teammates in the Majors, even when that’s a walk-off single. But there was Brett Eibner at the bottom of a heap of blue laundry in Kansas City this afternoon, after he capped the biggest ninth-inning comeback in the Royals’ 7,596-game history.
The defending World Series champs were down 7 to 1 against the suddenly snakebit White Sox when shit started getting nuts. Kansas City’s first batter up, Paulo Orlando, struck out looking. Then: Single, double (by Eibner!), walk, walk (score), single (score, score), fielder’s choice (score), double (score), pitching change, double (score), runner advances on wild pitch, intentional walk, intentional walk, and then up comes Eibner, who sees a flatliner on the 3-2 that he raps hard past first. And a Muppet show breaks out on the basepaths.
Last time the Royals overcame a seven-run deficit was 2008, against the Giants. But that game was much more the slugfest; Kansas City made up that ground over three innings. Today, the Royals slacked until the final two outs, racking up a single run through eight and then scoring the touchdown in the (very) bottom of the ninth. Over the past half-century in the Majors, winning after such a big deficit so late is about a one-in-1,000 proposition, and surely even rarer to do so without extra innings. A team might get a monster comeback this crisp and sweet every generation or so. Not that Royals fans are strangers to that kind of wait.