A's escape first inning with pick-off play

Lester catches Butler off first base; Hosmer thrown out at home

KANSAS CITY -- The American League Wild Card Game got off to a confusing start, as the Royals ran into an out in the first inning.

Billy Butler drove in Kansas City's first run with a single in the first, but he also contributed to the third out of the inning when he wandered too far off first base with two outs and Eric Hosmer at third. Hosmer responded to Butler's rundown by breaking to home plate, where he was thrown out. At the time, the Athletics led, 2-1.

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  Sept. 30   KC 9, OAK 8 video

The play left many wondering what had just occurred as the circumstances certainly did not call for a steal. Butler has not attempted to swipe a bag since 2012 and one of Kansas City's best hitters, Alex Gordon, was at the plate.

"Well that play broke down on both ends," Royals manager Ned Yost told the TBS crew during an in-game interview. "Billy left too soon. He was supposed to wait till Lester threw the ball home, take a second, break it down, and then Hos was gonna come to the plate. We had to find other ways to score some runs."

According to fangraphs.com, Athletics starter Jon Lester did not attempt a pick-off throw to first all season, leading to speculation that the Royals would test the left-hander on the bases.

Replays show first-base coach Rusty Kuntz and Butler discussing something before the pick-off play and after the inning in the dugout.

The Royals overcame the mistake later, grabbing a 3-2 lead in the third inning.

Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.