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Bobby Witt Jr. comes through in 9th as Royals erase 8-0 deficit to stun Mariners

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First the Kanas City Royals were down 7-0 after the first inning. Then they were down 8-0 in the fourth inning.

Then they won.

More specifically, they won 10-9 over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night in one of the most thrilling games of the season, chipping away at the lead and finally breaking through in the ninth inning with a walk-off fielder’s choice. Their record is now 38-26, only three games behind the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians.

The Mariners’ scoring came in a first inning that wouldn’t end for Royals starter Daniel Lynch IV. A Julio Rodríguez single and two hit-by-pitches loaded the bases with one out, then Lynch got Cal Raleigh to fly out to short left. He was a strike away from ending the inning with no damage, but Mitch Garver worked a walk to score the first run.

Mitch Haniger and Victor Robles each followed up with doubles, then Ryan Bliss threw down the exclamation point with a two-run homer. Three innings later, Ty France hit an RBI double to put Seattle up eight runs.

Kansas City responded with its own rally in the bottom of the fourth to score three runs, then scored three more in the sixth to make it 9-7. That set the Royals up for a ninth in which Nick Loftin and Garrett Hampson both reached base to open the bottom of the inning.

Cue MVP candidate Bobby Witt Jr., who came through with a high-speed triple to tie the game.

The Mariners intentionally walked the next two batters to get the force out at home and very nearly forced extras. Nelson Velázquez hit a double-play ball to short that J.P. Crawford barely snagged, but he stumbled when moving to flip the ball to second base.

The ball got there to get one out, but it was late to first. Win, Royals.

Per MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, it was only the fifth time in the past 50 seasons in which a team won a game after exiting the first inning down 7-0 or worse. No team had done it since Cleveland in 1995.

It was a well-earned Gatorade shower for Witt.

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