Things weren't looking good for the Royals, as they trailed, 3-2, heading to the bottom of the ninth inning, but they took advantage of some Brewers mistakes and one big hit to turn things around on closer John Axford and Milwaukee.
Mitch Maier led off the inning by reaching on a wild pitch third strike and moved to second base on a groundout. Dyson walked with two outs, setting things up for pinch-hitter Brayan Pena. Pena stroked a line drive down the left-field line that landed out of the reach of left fielder Norichika Aoki.
As Maier crossed home to tie the game at 3, Aoki's throw went to shortstop Edwin Maysonet, who relayed to second base, where an overzealous Pena was attempting to get into scoring position. A clean play would have caught Pena, who slowed up with the intent of going back to first base, but Rickie Weeks misplayed the ball. This cued Dyson to break for home. The throw went there, too, but Dyson was too fast and slid across the plate to win the game.
"I wasn't going anywhere until I saw the ball kick out of [Weeks'] glove," Dyson said. "That's when I was on the move."
Apparently, that's what speed does do. Speed and a well-placed hit off Pena's bat.
"I was trying to make good contact, trying to put the ball in play, hit the ball for a base hit," Pena said. "I knew we had speed on the bases. Dyson can make things happen. I was trying to be aggressive, trying to make something happen. And then I saw the throw go to second, and then he bobbled it and Dyson took care of the rest."
There were many moving parts to the play, but the key was Dyson's speed.
"Dyson's speed makes those things happen," manager Ned Yost said. "He's got tremendous instincts. He's got great burst speed. He takes off, he's at full speed in an instant. Even on a good throw, I don't think they have him at the plate."
"I think he's the only guy who could score on that play because he's so fast," Maysonet said. "A regular guy would probably shuffle, shuffle, stop, because the ball was right there."
It was a sudden turn of events, as the Brewers had broken a 2-2 tie an inning earlier. To lead off eighth, Carlos Gomez grounded a ball into the hole between third base and shortstop and legged out an infield single on a bang-bang play at first base. Maysonet bunted Gomez over to second, and two batters later, Cody Ransom singled to left over a leaping Mike Moustakas, giving the Brewers a 3-2 lead.
The game began as a duel between Royals starter Luke Hochevar and Brewers starter Shawn Marcum. Both were terrific through much of the evening, allowing few hits and fewer runs.
As the night wore on, though, duel turned into derby, and when the pitchers made mistakes, they ended up in the seats. Ryan Braun took Hochevar deep in the fourth to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead. In the sixth, Eric Hosmer crushed a two-run shot 422 feet to right-center field to reverse the one-run advantage in favor of Kansas City. That lead was short-lived, though, as Aramis Ramirez belted the first pitch he saw from Hochevar in the seventh to tie it at 2.
Hochevar pitched one of his better games. He threw 7 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Marcum pitched 7 2/3 innings, yielding two runs on four hits.
Despite no runs early on, there were plenty of fireworks. In the second, Jeff Francoeur was called out on strikes, which he didn't care for. He began arguing with home-plate umpire Dan Iassogna and after an emotional exchange Iassogna tossed the right fielder. Francoeur stuck around to argue a while longer, and Yost joined in.
It wasn't the last Iassogna would see of Yost. In the fourth, Nyjer Morgan attempted to lay down a bunt. The ball hit Morgan as he ran toward first base, with Iassogna ruling the contact occurred in foul territory. After Hochevar and catcher Humberto Quintero expressed their displeasure with the call, Yost returned and started yelling at Iassogna. He was quickly ejected, joining Francoeur in the clubhouse. For Yost, it was his first ejection of the season and the 27th of his career.
For those reasons, Yost wasn't terribly helpful in describing the game-winning play, but Francoeur broke his concentration.
"As soon as Brayan hit the ball, we knew the score was tied. Be both jumped up, and then I'm standing there trying to watch what happened and -- boom -- Frenchy's pushing me. I push him back, and the next thing we know, we look and Dyson's sliding across home plate," Yost said. "Then we really started pushing each other."
The walk-off win was the second in as many games for the Royals, who are winning the kind of games they were losing earlier this season.
"In the past, when we'd lose one-run games or two-run games it was because we didn't get the big hit when we needed it. Whether it was early in the game or later, we weren't getting those big hits when we needed them," Maier said. "That's the difference between winning and losing: You don't get those hits, you lose. It was nice to finally get that in a series."