Did Ned Yost Foresee the Royals Ninth Inning vs. Orioles Saturday Night?

By Mike Cardillo
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Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost continues to roll 7s during the baseball playoffs. The formerly maligned, bunt-happy skipper can seemingly do no wrong and has the Royals closing in on a World Series berth following a 6-4 win Saturday night in Game 2 of the ALCS vs. the Orioles in Baltimore, which put Kansas City ahead 2-0 in the series.

Yost’s latest trick appears to be seeing into the future .

Here’s Andy McCullough writing in the Kansas City Star:

"He pulled shortstop Alcides Escobar aside. Escobar was scheduled to bat third in the top of the ninth against Baltimore, and Yost wanted to share his vision. Here is what will happen, Yost told him. Omar Infante will lead off with a hit. Yost will insert pinch runner Terrance Gore. Mike Moustakas will lay down a bunt. And then Escobar will record the hit that wins the Royals the second game of the American League Championship Series. “Great plan,” Escobar replied."

Granted, Infante led off the inning with an infield hit and Yost predicting a hit followed by a bunt is about as bold a prediction as guessing the sun will come up the next morning. Even so, having Gore — arguably the fastest man in the sport — as a late-inning pinch runner changes the tenor of innings and puts a lot of pressure on the opposing pitcher. Gore was a threat to steal third and Baltimore needed to have second baseman Jonathan Schoop play behind him, creating a huge gap up the first base line where Escobar’s hit went.

Bear in mind the whole sequence required Yost taking the bat out of the hands of Moustakas who’s hit four home runs in the playoffs. Somehow Yost’s unconventional approach continues to work.

Even more amazing is that Yost — the same man Royals fans wanted fired during the sixth inning of the American League Wild Card game — is now 6-0 in the playoffs and two wins away from leading Kansas City to its first World Series since 1985.

RELATED: Did Buck Showalter Predict the Final Play of the ALDS?

[Photo via Getty]

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