KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Luke Hochevar turned around in plenty of time to see the fly ball in the eighth inning fall into the glove of center fielder Jarrod Dyson, and then did a little leg-kicking shimmy off the mound.
That's about as much excitement as you'll see out of the Royals reliever.
Hochevar came on to retire Mariners with runners on second and third in a tie game, and then got credit for the win Tuesday night when Salvador Perez drove in Mike Moustakas in the bottom half of the inning to boost Kansas City to a 4-3 victory over Seattle.
"I'm not a big emotional guy," Hochevar said, "but sometimes the situation calls for it."
The situation couldn't have been a whole lot more apropos.
The Royals had already squandered a three-run lead, but instead of the Mariners pulling ahead in the eighth inning, the table was set for another dramatic victory.
Billy Butler had just grounded into a double play against Seattle reliever Yoervis Medina (4-4) when Moustakas legged out a double to center in the eighth. Perez followed with a single to left, and Moustakas had just enough time for a headfirst slide ahead of Endy Chavez's throw to home.
"All the credit goes to Hoch," Moustakas said. "He came in a huge situation for us and did exactly what we needed to do. That guy saved the game for us."
Actually, it was Greg Holland who saved the game. The All-Star closer tossed a perfect ninth for his 31st straight save and 38th on the year.
Perez also homered and finished with three hits, and Alex Gordon added a homer for the Royals, who have won three straight and eight of their last 10 to climb back into playoff contention.
The Royals (72-66), who began the day 4½ games back in the AL wild-card race, have already matched their win total from last season. They haven't had more than 72 wins since the 2008 season.
"That's all nice, but we have a long way to go," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "There's no sitting back and patting your back at 72 wins right now. We want to continue pushing, continue playing with confidence the way we are right now, keep winning a bunch more games."
Kyle Seager hit a two-run shot for the Mariners, who have lost three straight.
"Those are the type of situations with these young kids that they've got to get comfortable being in," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We got some great young competitors here, but they struggle in those types of situations to take advantage of them."
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