KANSAS CITY -- In honor of the man he replaced -- American League All-Star and Gold Glove Award-winning left fielder Alex Gordon -- Royals left fielder Jarrod Dyson first threw out a runner at home to complete a double play and thwart a potential big inning by the Rays in the fourth frame of Wednesday night's 9-7 win over the Rays at Kauffman Stadium.
But the real excitement came later for Dyson when he shot a liner down the left-field line in the sixth inning. Rays left fielder and former Royal David DeJesus dove to make the catch, but he missed. The ball scooted toward the corner and by the time the ball was retrieved, Alcides Escobar and Dyson had scored as Dyson recorded the first inside-the-park homer of his career.
The two-run homer gave the Royals a 9-3 lead in the sixth. It was Kansas City's 96th inside-the-park homer overall and first since Sept. 8, 2014, when Lorenzo Cain had one against Detroit.
It was the second inside-the-park homer of the game, though fans in attendance would like to forget the consequences of the first one. Tampa Bay's Logan Forsythe hit a gapper to the wall and Gordon collapsed to the ground in pursuit. Gordon was carted off the field with what was deemed by the club as a left groin strain. He was to have an MRI to determine the severity of the strain.
"When you see him laying down like that, you know it's bad," Dyson said. "I just started getting ready to go right there. Everybody hates to see that, me especially, because of the role he plays for this team and the things he does for this team. We have to step up and fill that spot until he's back."
Dyson, though, said he couldn't worry about Gordon's condition when he had to replace him.
"Nah, you gotta kinda put that behind you and worry about it when you come off the field," Dyson said. "Right there, I'm put in the game to do my job, and I've got to go out there and do my job. I can't worry about what happened to him until I get off the field. But it's in the back of our head all the time because he means so much to us. I love him to death, and he'll be truly missed for his whole time out."
Dyson did his job to provide a spark on Wednesday.
"Every time I'm out there, I try to do my job and provide some kind of spark for the team," he said. "I just to do a great job to try and fill that spot for Alex Gordon. And the inside-the-parker, not a better place to do it, at the Kauffman Stadium, in front of the home crowd, so I take a lot of pride in that."
The last time there were inside-the-park homers by each team in a game was on May 26, 1997, when Sammy Sosa of the Cubs and Tony Womack of the Pirates did it at Pittsburgh. The last time the Royals were involved in such a game was May 14, 1980, when Willie Wilson of the Royals got an inside-the-park home run as did Bucky Dent of the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.