This week plays host to a baseball spectacle not witnessed in years — a September game between the Indians and Royals with actual, legitimate playoff implications.
Terry Francona’s Cleveland club holds a narrow advantage over its division rival in the race for the final American League wild card spot, but Kansas City pulled closer Wednesday night with the help of some acrobatic baserunning by Alcides Escobar.
With a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning and runners on the corners, Royals manager Ned Yost elected to pull the old double steal. Alex Gordon took off from first base and intentionally got caught in a rundown between first and second. The Indians fielders chased Gordon back and forth before firing to third in an attempt to pick off Escobar, who had been dancing along the third base line.
Catcher Yan Gomes appeared to have the runner lined up after a throw home from Mike Aviles, but Escobar dropped to his knees and maneuvered around the tag before sliding safely into home plate.
Kansas City went on to win the game 7-2, making Escobar’s steal of home ultimately just an insurance run, to pull within 2 1/2 games of the final AL playoff berth and two games behind Cleveland.
Check out the play in the video below.