The Royals Explain Why They Didn't Go For The Inside-The-Park Home Run In The Bottom Of The 9th

The Kansas City Royals lost Game 7 of the World Series 3-2 on Wednesday night, stranding the game-tying run at third base in the bottom of the ninth.

With two outs in the inning and no one on base, Alex Gordon hit a single to left-center that the Giants totally botched.

Center fielder Gregor Blanco overran the ball, letting it roll to the wall, where left fielder Juan Perez kicked it around before getting it back into shortstop Brandon Crawford.

The ball was out there forever. Watching the game, it seemed like Gordon was going to have a chance at a game-tying inside-the-park home run. But ultimately he was held at third base by coach Mike Jirschele.

After the game Jirschele explained his decision. He said Gordon had “no chance” to score. He said Gordon was just getting to third base when shortstop Brandon Crawford got the relay throw. He told reporters:

“As soon as I saw Blanco misplay it and get by him and go to the wall I thought, ‘We got a chance here.’ Like I said I got back down the baseline and watched the play develop and as soon as Crawford secured it and I saw where Alex was I just thought, ‘We’ve got no chance of scoring him.'”

Here’s the play:

Gordon was rounding third when Crawford got the ball. It would have taken a clean relay to throw him out.

This overhead angle from shows that Crawford was a little bit deeper in the outfield than he looked from the field angle:

Gordon agreed with his coach. He told USA Today that Jirschele made the right call because he’s not very fast:

“He made a good call holding me up. With a good hitter like Salvy up, we liked our chances. I’m not as fast as (teammate Jarrod) Dyson — that’s what I’ve been saying the whole time — and if I was I probably would have scored.”

Jirschele told reporters that Crawford’s great arm was part of the reason he held Gordon, saying, “I’m pretty sure [Crawford] made the throw earlier [in the game] when Billy Butler scored, and that play was much closer than I thought it was going to be.”

Some speculated that Gordon wasn’t running hard right out of the box. He did appear to pick up speed after he rounded first base, but it’s not like he was just walking out of the box:

It’s a tough call. Gordon might have been thrown out at home by five feet, but he also might have scored and tied the game if the Giants mess up one more thing about the relay.

Here’s the full video:

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