On a day that the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians — the two teams with a narrow lead over the Texas Rangers in the AL Wild Card race — both won, the Rangers could ill afford a loss in Kansas City.
Alexi Ogando turned in a gem, tossing seven scoreless innings on 77 pitches, but it wasn't enough. A 0-0 game went into the 10th inning and the Royals were able to load the bags in the bottom of the 10th with no outs after an Alex Rios baserunning gamble didn't pay off in the ninth inning.
Joakim Soria appeared to be on his way to getting out of the monumental jam, getting a pop-up and a groundout to leave the bags full with two outs. He worked a full count to Royals outfielder Justin Maxwell and was one pitch away from getting the Rangers to the 11th inning.
Yes, one pitch away. The failed mantra of this team over the past few years.
Once again, it was doomed as Soria grooved a 3-2 fastball middle-middle and Maxwell deposited a no-doubter into the left-field seats for a game-winning grand slam.
It set up a pressure-packed week for the Rangers, who could technically win out over their final seven games and still not make the Wild Card Game, but most likely need to win five or six of those seven and get some help elsewhere.
"We can’t lose one game,” shortstop Elvis Andrus told The Dallas Morning News. “We have to win them all. Now is the best time for us to go home and get hot. It’s a great challenge. We have to be up for it.”