July 12, 2024

Royals win 4th straight, rally past retooling Mets 7-6 on 10th-inning balk

Kansas City Royals' MJ Melendez (1) runs home to score the winning run after New York Mets relief pitcher Josh Walker balked with the bases loaded during the tenth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. The Royals won 7-6 in 10 innings. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

By MARC BOWMAN Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Josh Walker balked home the winning run in the 10th inning and the Kansas City Royals rallied past the New York Mets 7-6 on Tuesday night for their season-best fourth straight victory.
Hours after the retooling Mets traded star pitcher Justin Verlander and two other players to cap a stunning deadline selloff, they blew a 6-4 lead provided by rookie Francisco Álvarez’s two-run homer in the top of the 10th.
Bobby Witt Jr. hit an RBI double in the bottom half and MJ Melendez tied it with a run-scoring single off Brooks Raley (0-2).
“The whole last inning, really good at-bats,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “Bobby, MJ, and then taking walks. Raley’s tough. We’ve seen a lot of him and he can really get you to expand the zone. Our guys didn’t do that.”
“Bobby getting us started right there is huge,” Melendez said. “Getting that tying run on second base takes a lot of pressure off the guys to come. We had some really good at-bats and some walks after that.”
Following a two-out throwing error by rookie third baseman Brett Baty, Melendez scored when Walker balked with the bases loaded to give last-place Kansas City (33-75) its sixth walk-off victory.
“I didn’t have a PitchCom in my ear,” Walker explained. “Álvy didn’t have communication. Basically I was trying to relay that to him. When I went to step off, my foot was kind of in the footprint of where guys had been throwing and my knee buckled a little bit before I stepped off.”
Walker was recalled from the minors earlier in the day.
“Pitching-wise, we gave them some things they didn’t earn,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “But they earned some stolen bases.”
Kansas City stole three bases in the seventh and scored twice to grab a 3-1 lead. Pinch-runner Dairon Blanco stole third and scored on Álvarez’s throwing error before Maikel Garcia added an RBI single off Trevor Gott.
“We’ve got dudes on the whole team that can move the game on the basepaths,” said Samad Taylor, who stole two bases and scored twice. “Any way we can do something on the basepaths, it’s a plus. This game tonight came down to baserunning and doing the right things on the basepaths.”
“He’s got sneaky pop,” Quatraro said. “He steals bags, plays good defense. We’re excited to have him.”
Carlos Hernández (1-6) worked one inning for the win.
Pete Alonso hit his 31st homer for the Mets and added an RBI single in a three-run eighth that gave them a 4-3 lead.
“You know you can’t make mistakes to him,” Royals starter Zack Greinke said. “It was a fastball right down the middle. It’s still an impressive hit.”
Freddy Fermin’s sacrifice fly off Adam Ottavino in the bottom half tied it.
After making a flurry of trades over the past few days, the Mets called up Walker, RHP John Curtiss, OF Rafael Ortega and C Michael Pérez from Triple-A Syracuse.
Kansas City activated 1B Matt Beaty from the seven-day injured list and recalled LHP Angel Zerpa and RHPs Jackson Kowar and James McArthur from Triple-A Omaha.
Mets rookie RHP Kodai Senga (7-5, 3.17 ERA) faces Royals RHP Alec Marsh (0-5, 7.04) on Wednesday night.