Royals are pretty good at being unique this week. Not in a good way, either.
Last night, bottom of the ninth, a possible superstar in the making ties the the game with a home run.
The next batter gets a walk and the Royals bring in a pinch runner. He gets picked off at first base. The next batter draws a one-out walk. Instead of first and second with no outs in a tie game you have a man on first with one out. Pinch runner, another pickoff. A strikeout ends the threat. Game tied and the Royals lose to the Rangers in extra innings.
Surely, it isn’t unprecedented. Right? Two pinch runners picked off in the same inning this late in the game?
Nope, at least not by the play-by-play data from Retrosheet. But I did find something that might be worse:
A May 7, 1969 game, Dodgers in Chicago to take on the Cubs. The game was tied 1-1 after nine innings and it took the visiting Dodgers until the 12th inning to plate any more runners against Fergie Jenkins, but then they scored three. In the bottom of the 12th, the Cubs got a little bit of a rally going. After getting a run to make the score 4-2, the Cubs had runners on first and third with two outs. Nate Oliver pinch runs for Willie Smith, who was on first base. Nate Oliver the gets picked off. Ball Game. Cubs lose.
At least the pickoffs did not END the game for the Royals.