Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Perez is latest hero catcher

MLB Notebook: Perez is latest hero catcher

In Game 1 of the 1939 World Series, Yankees backstop Bill Dickey delivered a game-ending single in the ninth inning against the Reds' Paul Derringer. Dickey was the first catcher to produce a walk-off hit in postseason play, but certainly not the last.

There have been more than a dozen more since, including 10 in extra innings. And the first of those 10 was another Hall of Fame -- Boston's Carlton Fisk, who ended Game 6 of the 1975 Fall Classic with his prayer toward the Green Monster in the bottom of the 12th inning. It would take until 2014 however, for another dramatic variable to be added into the mix: a catcher making all of this happen while propelling his team out of a winner-take-all contest.

A catcher comes through in the clutch
Royals catcher Salvador Perez produced the seventh extra-inning walk-off hit in a winner-take all postseason game in the Royals' 9-8 win over the Athletics on Tuesday in an epic American League Wild Card Game.

The Royals shook off deficits of 2-0, 7-3, and 8-7 to win the 12-inning affair. With the victory, Kansas City moves on to play the Angels in the AL Division Series.

The victory marked the first for the Royals in the postseason since winning another winner-take-all contest: Game 7 of the 1985 World Series. With this victory, Kansas City improved to 3-2 in winner-take-all postseason games, with losses in Game 5 of the 1976 AL Championship Series and Game 5 of the '77 ALCS, and a victory in Game 7 of the 1985 ALCS to complement its Fall Classic triumph that same year.

Winner takes all
In contrast to Kansas City's three-game winning streak in winner-take-all contests, the Athletics have now dropped seven straight. The franchise's most recent win in such an affair took place in Game 7 of the 1973 World Series, while the previous six losses all occurred in an ALDS Game 5 (2000, '01, '02, '03, '12, '13).

Some other notable winner-take-all items:

• The 12 innings made this contest the longest by innings since the Senators defeated the Giants in 12 frames in Game 7 of the 1924 World Series.

• By time of game, this contest -- at four hours and 45 minutes -- was the longest, eclipsing the 4:19 classic Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS between the Yankees and Mariners.

• This was the 14th to feature a walk-off hit. Before this contest, the most recent had been seen in Game 5 of the 2011 National League Division Series, when the Brewers knocked off the D-backs in 10 innings. The previous most recent one in the AL came in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, when Aaron Boone's homer won the pennant for the Yankees over the Red Sox.

Walk-off heroes
The Royals' rally was punctuated by Christian Colon's game-tying infield single and Perez's game-ending single. With the two events, the Royals became the first team to have a game-tying hit and a game-ending hit in extra-innings of a winner-take-all contest. Prior to this game, there had been only seven walk-off extra-inning hits in postseason history:

• 1912 World Series, Game 8: Boston's Tris Speaker singled off New York's Christy Mathewson in the 10th to tie the game. Boston won the contest on a walk-off sac fly later that inning. (Note: *Game 2 of this World Series had ended in a 6-6 tie, so that Game 8 was essentially Game 7).

• 1924 World Series, Game 7: Washington's Earl McNeely won the World Series with a walk-off double in the 12th off of New York's Jack Bentley.

• 1991 World Series, Game 7: Minnesota's Gene Larkin wins the Fall Classic with a walk-off single in the 10th against Atlanta's Alejandro Pena.

• 1995 ALDS, Game 5: Seattle's Edgar Martinez doubles off of New York's Jack McDowell in the bottom of the 11th to drive in the game-tying run and the game-winning runs.

• 1997 World Series, Game 7: Florida's Edgar Renteria singles off of Cleveland's Charles Nagy to drive in the series-winning run in the 11th.

• 2003 ALCS, Game 7: Boone hits a solo homer off of Boston's Tim Wakefield in the bottom of the 11th to win the pennant.

• 2011 NLDS, G5: Milwaukee's Nyjer Morgan singles off of Arizona's J.J. Putz in the bottom of the 10th to win the series.

This game marked the third walk-off win in Royals history. In Game 3 of the 1980 World Series, Willie Aikens drove in Willie Wilson to beat the Phillies, 4-3, in 10 innings. In Game 6 of the1985 World Series, Dane Iorg drove in Onix Concepcion to beat the Cardinals, 2-1, in nine innings.

Cain is more than able
Lorenzo Cain drove in two, scored two, had a double and stole a base. He was the 11th No. 3 hitter to have a postseason line featuring at least two runs, at least two RBIs, at least one extra-base hit and at least one steal. He was the first to do this in a winner-take-all contest.

The most recent player -- hitting in any spot in the order -- to have this type of line in a winner-take-all game was the Cardinals' Daniel Descalso in a Game 5 win over the Nationals in the 2012 NLDS. Before Descalso, four others had done this:

• Pittsburgh's Max Carey (Game 7 of the 1925 World Series) in a win

• New York's Chris Chambliss (Game 5 of the 1976 ALCS) in a win

• Kansas City's Lonnie Smith (Game 7 of the 1985 World Series) in a win

• Boston's Johnny Damon (Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS) in a win.

Here and there
• The Royals stole seven bases in the contest. The seven tied the postseason record, set by the Cubs in Game 1 of the 1907 World Series and matched by the Reds in Game 2 of the 1975 NLCS. In the former case, the game ended in a 3-3 tie. In the latter, the Reds defeated the Pirates, 6-1.

• In this loss, Oakland's Brandon Moss homered twice and drove in five runs. Moss was the fourth player with a multihomer, five-RBI game in a winner-take-all contest, and the first of the four to do it in a losing effort.

Moss' big night goes for naught
Player Game HR/RBIs Outcome
Troy O'Leary (BOS) G5, 1999 ALDS 2/7 Red Sox win, 12-8
Carlos Beltran (HOU) G5, 2004 NLDS 2/5 Astros win, 12-3
Johnny Damon (BOS) G7, 2004 ALCS 2/6 Red Sox win, 10-3
Brandon Moss (OAK) 2014 AL WC 2/5 A's lose, 9-8

• Before Kansas City, the 1945 Tigers (World Series, Game 7) had been the most recent team to score at least nine runs without homering in a winner-take-all contest. In that game, Detroit defeated Chicago, 9-3. It had happened twice before that: in Game 7 of the 1925 World Series (the Pirates defeated the Senators, 9-7); and in Game 7 of the 1934 Fall Classic (the Cardinals defeated the Tigers, 11-0).

• Oakland became the third team to score at least eight runs in a winner-take-all loss. The A's join the Yankees (10-9 losers to the Pirates in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series) and the Indians (12-8 losers to the Red Sox in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS).

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.