See baseball roundup on D2It's still April, but to the Kansas City Royals, it seemed like October.
"It was like the World Series in that dugout," said the Royals' Gary Thurman.On the field, too, where Kirk Gibson's dramatic two-run homer gave the Royals the chance to beat the Cleveland Indians 4-2 in 10 innings Wednesday night.
They grabbed that chance against reliever Doug Jones in the 10th, when Russ Morman singled, advanced on Kurt Stillwell's bunt and scored on Gary Thurman's single. Terry Shumpert got Thurman home on a sacrifice fly for the extra run.
Gibson's drive, with the Royals one strike from defeat, evoked visions of his famous home run in the 1988 World Series.
Winning pitcher Jeff Montgomery saw it even before Gibson's smash.
"I had a feeling; I was sensing it," Montgomery said. "I was thinking back to Dennis Eckersley and when Gibby hit his home run."
Indians lefthander Greg Swindell had throttled the Royals for eight innings. He had 12 strikeouts and was leading 2-0.
Then Jim Eisenreich started the ninth with a single, and closer Doug Jones arrived from the bullpen. He got two outs.
Then Gibson was up.
"It's the kind of situation I like," Gibson said. "I wanted to be up there."
He fouled back a fastball for a 1-2 count. Jones fed him a change-up, about belt high, and Gibson was waiting for it.
The ball soared over the right-field wall for a 2-2 tie.
"Sometimes I'll go into what I call my emergency stance with two strikes, just trying to make contact, but I didn't do that tonight," Gibson said.
"I decided I was either going to do what I did or I was going to strike out, and the game would be over."
Gibson, after hitting a homer for the fourth consecutive game, to tie him for the season major league lead with Oakland's Dave Henderson with six, pumped his fist joyfully as he rounded the bases. The Royals' dugout erupted.
Second baseman Shumpert then made a game-saving play in the bottom of the ninth. He speared Turner Ward's shot with two runners on for the third out.