Madson answers call with key double-play ball

Madson answers call with key double-play ball

MINNEAPOLIS -- Royals manager Ned Yost really didn't want to do it. He didn't want to have to use reliever Ryan Madson again.

But then ...

"Our game plan today was to stay away from Madson," Yost said following a 3-1 win over the Twins on Friday night. "He's pitched four out of six days. We wanted to make sure we weren't overdoing it with him ... But once we took the lead, I was like, 'Just go ahead and to do it.'"

Tied 1-1, the Royals punched across two runs in the eighth. And Yost was without Luke Hochevar and Kelvin Herrera, who were unavailable because of workloads.

"He called down and asked, and I said I felt fine," Madson said. "I pitched a lot of times a lot worse, so I'm just glad it worked out."

Madson got through the eighth unscathed and the Royals held on to stay tied with the Blue Jays in the race for home-field advantage throughout the American League postseason.

Madson first gave up a hit. Then he got a double-play ball on a comebacker from Brian Dozier.

"That was huge, especially in that type of ballgame with the hitters they had coming up," Madson said. "Those guys kind of smell blood there. Best to just snip it right there and come back."

A few games ago, Madson missed a similar double-play chance with a bad throw.

"I've done that play a million times in Spring Training so it's just automatic," he said. "But you got to make a good throw."

Madson fans Sano in the 8th

Madson gave up another hit to Joe Mauer, bringing up dangerous rookie Miguel Sano. But Madson overmatched him with cutters and changeups, and struck him out.

"I'm not going to give [my philosophy] away," Madson said of his approach to Sano. "He's a dangerous hitter, a home-run hitter. You have to pitch to them and go after them, and make good pitches and stay to your plan."

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.