KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It seemed like an innocuous fly ball to shallow right field. It ended up dropping in and may be the moment when the American League Championship Series swung back in the Kansas City Royals‘ direction.
Toronto Blue Jays starter David Price had retired 18 batters in a row and had a 3-0 lead entering the seventh inning of Saturday’s Game 2. When Ben Zobrist led off the frame with a lazy fly ball, it seemed like out No. 19 was a sure thing.
Blue Jays second baseman Ryan Goins appeared to have a beat on it and put his glove up in the air to signal that right-fielder Jose Bautista should back off. But at the last second, Goins thought he heard Bautista call for it — he didn’t — and the ball fell to the ground.
The Royals would go on to score five runs in the inning en route to a 6-3 victory.
"The blame should go on me today," Goins said. "I gave them that play to start that rally. So there’s nothing (else) to be said about it. It was a big play."
The sellout crowd at Kauffman Stadium, which had been very quiet to that point, finally had something to cheer about. The play was ruled a hit — just the second of the day for Kansas City — and gave the Royals a much-needed boost.
"It turned out to be a huge play and they just did a great job of rallying," Goins said. "It was kind of the turning point of the game."
Price would give up four more hits before being pulled from the game after 6 2/3 innings. He was charged with five earned runs.
Bautista, meanwhile, offered some rather pithy replies when reporters asked him for his take on what happened.
"My perspective? I think there’s video. You can watch it," he said.
The Blue Jays slugger was also asked whether there was confusion between him and Goins.
"There was no confusion. I don’t know what you’re talking about," he replied.
The victory gave the Royals a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is set for Monday at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
"The way I saw it, it looked like Ryan kind of held him off a little bit and he might have backed Jose up a little bit and the ball dropped in," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "They were looking for that one crack because David was so good.
"And (Lorenzo) Cain followed up and (they had) some good at-bats. But David was so good tonight that it’s a shame it had to end that way."