September 25: Kansas City 8, Seattle 4
The Royals opened the scoring in this colossally important series between the two expansion teams who are fighting for the division crown right down to the wire. Alcides Escobar and Frank White, two of the weakest hitters in the league, cracked back-to-back singles against Felix Hernandez in the third inning to plate the initial run.
Ken Griffey, Jr. drilled a game-tying solo homer against Kevin Appier in the fourth, and Robinson Cano put Seattle ahead with a solo jack in the fifth.
Hernandez was keen for six innings, but KC got to him in the seventh. Danny Tartabull and Darrell Porter both doubled to tie the game, and White, Willie Wilson, and John Mayberry all singled in the inning to put the Royals ahead 4-2.
Another solo homer for Seattle, this time off the bat of Alvin Davis, got the Mariners within a run in the bottom of the seventh, but the Royals ran up their lead in the top of the ninth against Shigetoshi Hasegawa. Porter doubled again, Davis made an error at first base, Wilson singled, and Mayberry and George Brett popped doubles.
Griffey hit yet another solo homer for Seattle in the bottom of the ninth, but the Royals claimed the game and a 2.5 game lead in the Expansion Division.
R H BB KC 001 000 304 - 8 13 1 SEA 000 110 101 - 4 8 0 HR: K. Griffey, Jr.-2 (27), A. Davis (18), R. Cano (16) starters IP R ER HR BB SO K. Appier 6.2 3 3 3 0 8 F. Hernandez 6.2 4 4 0 1 4 KC 83-74, SEA 81-77
September 26: Seattle 4, Kansas City 3
Jamie Moyer showed why he is one of the front-runners to win Expansion Division pitcher of the year honors. He went eight innings and allowed three runs while walking nobody.
Bret Saberhagen was just about as good for Kansas City and only allowed three earned runs, but Darrell Porter, who had crushed a two-run homer in the top of the fifth, allowed a passed ball in the bottom of the inning that allowed Seattle an extra, unearned tally.
Alex Rodriguez tagged Saberhagen for two homers and three RBI, and Seattle shrank Kansas City’s lead to 1.5 games.
R H BB KC 000 021 000 - 3 7 0 SEA 200 011 00x - 4 8 0 HR: D. Porter (12), A. Rodriguez-2 (30) starters IP R ER HR BB SO B. Saberhagen 7.0 4 3 2 0 4 J. Moyer 8.0 3 3 1 0 6 83-75, SEA 82-77
September 27: Kansas City 4, Seattle 3
It was a lefty-lefty matchup in the ridonkulously important rubber match. Seattle had the more intimidating hurler in strikeout king Randy Johnson, but Danny Jackson rose to the occasion for the Royals and started the game with five shutout innings.
Danny Tartabull got to the Unit early with a two-run mamma-jamma in the first inning, and the Royals added two more runs in the second inning on a Kevin Seitzer double. That was all the scoring KC managed in the game, and they hung on for dear life to make those four runs stand up.
Jackson’s effectiveness slipped in the sixth inning. Nelson Cruz led off with a walk, Griffey struck out, and Davis and Cano crushed back-to-back doubles to score two runs for Seattle. Out came Jackson and in came Wade Davis. Kyle Seager greeted Davis with an RBI single and the Mariners were within a run. Davis put an end to the rally with a double play grounder from Dan Wilson.
Davis then threw a hairy but scoreless seventh inning, and Greg Holland slammed the door with shutout innings in the eighth and ninth.
The Royals haven’t quite finished off the division, but the two wins have put them in great shape. If they win one of their final three games or Seattle loses one of their two remaining games, the Royals are division champions. And if KC gets swept in Anaheim and Seattle wins both of their games against Houston, the teams will meet in Kansas City on October 2nd for a deciding game 163.
R H BB KC 220 000 000 - 4 6 3 SEA 000 003 000 - 3 10 5 HR: D. Tartabull (25) starters IP R ER HR BB SO D. Jackson 5.1 3 3 0 3 4 R. Johnson 9.0 4 3 1 3 10 KC 84-75, SEA 82-78