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Hit the deck! Royals’ Alcides Escobar steals home by taking evasive action

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The Cleveland Indians were in a giving mood in the bottom of the fifth inning Wednesday night. The only question: Were the Kansas City Royals going to accept?

With runners at the corners and one out, Alex Gordon broke for second base but pulled up trying to draw the Indians into a rundown. Over at third, teammate Alcides Escobar danced around, but didn't break for home immediately. Actually, it seemed like he never would, as Gordon made Indians infielders Asdrubal Cabrera, Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis chase him around. Gordon probably was, like, "Go, already!"

In the Royals' TV booth, analyst Rex Hudler tried to encourage Escobar to engage:

"C'mon! ... Wowww!"

Nothing. After the fifth throw of the rundown (which already was at least three too many), Escobar finally broke for home, but he appeared to be a dead duck heading for the plate. Catcher Yan Gomes took a sixth throw, ran up the third-base line and switched the ball from his bare hand to his mitt for a tag. But when Gomes reached down, he whiffed — Escobar had hit the deck to avoid him. Evasive action! Like Maverick in "Top Gun," he just hit the breaks and Gomes flew right on by him.

Escobar quickly got to his feet and scampered the final 10 feet to the plate without drawing a seventh throw. It was over, he was home, the first Royals player this season to steal it. Kansas City, barely hanging onto its wild-card hopes, had an insurance run. It's not the first time Escobar had tried duck-and-cover tactics:

It turns out, Mellinger also reports, that batter Emilio Bonifacio missed a hit-and-run sign, which is why Gordon got hung up in the first place. The whole sequence lasted 19 seconds.

The Royals went on to win 7-2. They're 2 1/2 games back of the Texas Rangers (who lost to the Tampa Bay Rays) for the last playoff spot. As with Escobar's baserunning, getting into the postseason will take some slick maneuvers over the final 10 games of the regular season.

The shame of the kooky rundown was that fans at Kauffman Stadium didn't get to see a replay on the enormously awesome crown-shaped scoreboard. Because the Royals don't show replays on it:

Let's change that! Here's a replay:

Let's talk pennant-race baseball!
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