KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Prized rookie Bobby Witt Jr. made an eye-popping play at third base to nail a runner at the plate in the top of the 10th inning, then Adalberto Mondesi‘s RBI single in the bottom half lifted the Kansas City Royals over the Cleveland Guardians 1-0 Saturday.
With a runner at third and one out in the Cleveland 10th, Oscar Mercado hit a hard grounder down the line that looked like it might break the scoreless tie.
But the 21-year-old Witt, the top-rated prospect in the majors, skidded onto his knees to make a backhanded stop. All in one motion, he made an off-balance throw home, where All-Star catcher Salvador Perez backhanded the ball on the second hop and made a swipe tag to get Owen Miller.
“(Collin) Snider was throwing that nasty sinker in there, so I knew there was a possibility of the ball coming to me,” Witt said. “I knew they’re going on contact, too.”
“The ball was hit to me and I just threw the ball. I knew I had to get it to Salvy because I knew he was going to make the play on it,” he said.
“When we started to get going offensively, they made some plays,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.
Snider (1-0) pitched one inning in his major league debut. The Royals improved to 2-0 with their second win over the Guardians.
Brad Keller allowed two hits in six innings for Kansas City, striking out five with one walk.
“Brad looked like a different pitcher,” Kansas City Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “…He was so efficient, pounding the zone, getting ahead. That’s everything we were hoping to see. He did a great job handing it off to a bullpen that was so impressive, right down the line, every single one of them.”
Cleveland starter Zach Plesac pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up three hits. He fanned three and walked none.
Andrew Benintendi went 3 for 4 and got half of Kansas City’s hits.
Steven Kwan had two of Cleveland’s five hits.