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Justin Maxwell hits walk-off grand slam as Royals defeat Rangers, clinch AL West for Athletics

Sep 22, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals v Cleveland Indians Getty Images

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” was the theme today as Royals outfielder Justin Maxwell hit a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning against the Rangers, clinching the AL West for the Athletics in the process. The Athletics entered the afternoon with a magic number of one, meaning that either a Rangers loss or an Athletics win today would have sealed up the division for the A’s.

The Rangers and Royals entered the bottom of the 10th deadlocked at 0-0 following outstanding pitching performances from starters Alexi Ogando and James Shields. Ogando went seven strong innings, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out five. Shields went eight, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out two. For the Royals, Greg Holland and Tim Collins each pitched a scoreless inning in support of Shields.

Rangers reliever Neal Cotts started the 10th inning because of the platoon match-up against Eric Hosmer, but Hosmer doubled to left to put the Royals in good starting position to stage a walk-off. Manager Ron Washington walked to the mound and called for Joakim Soria, the former closer for the Royals from 2007-11. Soria intentionally walked Billy Butler to set up the double play, but was then victimized by an infield single by Salvador Perez to load the bases with no outs. The Royals, though, seemed to squander their opportunities with the winning run just 90 feet away. Mike Moustakas popped out, and George Kottaras grounded out, leaving the Royals’ hopes in the inning to Justin Maxwell. Maxwell worked the count to 3-2 against Soria, then turned on a 92 MPH cutter and sent it well beyond the fence in left field for a walk-off grand slam.

With their AL West hopes officially dashed, the 84-71 Rangers now turn their attention to the Wild Card. As the Indians won 9-2 over the Astros this afternoon, the Rangers are now 1.5 games out of the second Wild Card. The Rangers are now 5-15 in the month of September.

Meanwhile, the Royals keep a faint glimmer of hope alive as they are 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card. They have also clinched their first winning season since 2003.

  1. Kevin Gillman - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    Thank you Royals, because with the Indians having a day off tomorrow, worst case scenario heading into Tuesday’s games are Indians have a game lead. Magic number for them is 6.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 22, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      Thank you also to the Royals from the Rays’ fans, basically for the same reason.

      • Kevin Gillman - Sep 22, 2013 at 9:41 PM

        LOL…If it is Indians and Rays playing in that WC, it should be a good game.

  2. butchhuskey - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Congrats to the A’s on yet another fine season. And to think that the Angels were the favorites in the West after they signed Josh Hamilton.

    • Kevin Gillman - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      It makes you think Athletics should be the favorites to win the AL West next season, until one of those other teams beat them. I think they have earned that right.

      • butchhuskey - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:36 PM

        Agreed. I never thought that last season was a fluke but now I think it’s clear that Oakland is here to stay.

      • Kevin Gillman - Sep 22, 2013 at 7:02 PM

        I think so too, even when injuries happen, someone steps in, which is incredible. For any baseball fan, they are an entertaining team to watch.

      • chill1184 - Sep 22, 2013 at 10:27 PM

        Honestly when you look at the AL West, I can really see the A’s dominating that division for a decent amount of time.

      • Kevin Gillman - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        I do too, but we know the “experts” will choose other teams before the season starts, but right now, the Athletics are the best team in the West.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      And to think that the Angels were the favorites in the West after they signed Josh Hamilton.

      Many commenters here correctly pointed out a ton of deficiencies with the Angels prior to the season. They never should have been considered the favorites.

      • butchhuskey - Sep 22, 2013 at 7:09 PM

        But you know the mainstream sports media – they only care about teams with big name players.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 22, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        It’s like getting “analysis” from ESPN or MLB Network, the majority of the time they don’t know what they are talking about, and if they do they tend to be wrong anyhow.

  3. APBA Guy - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Wow, two years in a row for the Beloved A’s. The three of us A’s fans who comment frequently on this site I’m sure are happy foremost, and still kind of stunned. It was only 3 years ago that things looked very bleak. The next task: The A’s go deep in the playoffs!

    • butchhuskey - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      I’m a diehard Mets (hence the name Butch Huskey) fan but the A’s are the American League team that I root for. It’s their year to do well in the playoffs!

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:52 PM

      With the Yanks all but out of it, I’m rooting for the A’s to win. Then I can’t wait to see how people disparage Billy Beane.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 23, 2013 at 7:53 AM

        Hey!

    • indaburg - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      I have a soft spot for low budget teams by a bay in awful stadiums. Congrats to your A’s.

  4. dhalb34 - Sep 22, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    A’s baby! Damn proud to be a fan of the best team in the Bay Area.

  5. kcsam76 - Sep 22, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    Huge A’s (and Raider fan) here in KC. Thrilled to see the team go back to back. Melvin’s got these guy’s hungry! With Grey, Parker, Griffin and Colon manning the mound and a bullpen that’s one of the best, who’s to say we can’t make a run at the series this year? Go A’s!!

  6. proudlycanadian - Sep 22, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Texas and KC still have a faint hope of winning a Wild Card berth due to playing teams below them in the standing. Baltimore and NY are on life support.

  7. artisan3m - Sep 22, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Lets hope for a mercy killing of the Rangers. Texas fans have had enough embarrassment for one season. And this is the second straight year for the “September Snooze” by the Rangers. Daniels sez Wash isn’t on the hot seat which begs the question………”WHY NOT?” One year’s collapse can be slightly overlooked ~ ~ not two in a row. The only winner for the Rangers ironically turns out to be the suspended Nellie Cruz ~ he hasn’t had to endure the water torture of the last four weeks.

  8. chill1184 - Sep 22, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    Congrats to the A’s

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  10. randomjoeblow - Sep 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    So, the Royals win in extra innings against their former closer on a walk-off Grand Slam, and every comment is about the A’s?

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