Resilient Royals refuse to lose in AL Wild Card

Resilient Royals refuse to lose in AL Wild Card

KANSAS CITY -- Salvador Perez walked to the plate in the bottom of the 12th inning a disheveled mess from his five previous plate appearances.

He walked away from at-bat No. 6 with the crowd chanting his name and newly acquired hero status thanks to the Royals' dramatic, 9-8, extra-innings win over the Athletics in the American League Wild Card Game.

Perez helped complete a gigantic comeback with a walk-off RBI single, which followed five previous hitless at-bats that included a pair of strikeouts.

"I worry about it, because I want to help the team," Perez said of his struggles early in the game.

One could extend Perez's perseverance to the Royals, who found themselves in a four-run deficit with six outs separating them from elimination. But they conjured up three runs in the eighth and one in the ninth to force extra innings.

"You never give up, you never say die, you never roll over no matter how big a lead is -- it's never insurmountable, especially in the playoffs," pitcher Danny Duffy said.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Royals are the first team to come back from four or more runs down in the eighth inning or later in a winner-take-all Postseason game.

Kansas City faced another deficit in the 12th, when Oakland pushed ahead, 8-7, on an RBI single by Alberto Callaspo.

In response, Eric Hosmer came up with a massive triple that bounced off the left-field wall and put the tying run 90 feet away with just one out. Colon plated Hosmer with a swinging bunt to third base, but he gave most of the credit to Hosmer.

"That's one of the franchise players stepping up to the plate, man," Colon said.

Colon swiped the Royals' seventh bag of the night and put himself in position to score on a hit, and that's precisely what he did when Perez's ground ball down the left-field line evaded the dive of third baseman Josh Donaldson.

"We never gave up. The feeling was, 'We're still in the game, and we came this far, so why give up now?'" Colon said.

Josh Willingham, whose leadoff single in the ninth eventually led to the tying run in the form of pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson, made an attempt at summarizing the comeback in general.

"I really can't ... I mean, just getting down four runs, we kept stealing bases, we kept inching and clawing back into it, and to finally tie it up, then they go back ahead ... Just the resiliency that this team showed tonight and the 'never quit' attitude to win this game is definitely a momentum thing for the next series," said Willingham.

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