st. louis — Yuniesky Betancourt started the game on the Kansas City bench. He ended it by getting the biggest hit of the day.
Betancourt was called upon in the first inning when Chris Getz sustained a leg injury. In the 15th, he hit a two-run homer with two outs to lift the Royals to a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
“I don’t even know if I could (describe it),” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “We won, that’s all I can say.”
Yost and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny combined to use all 43 position players in the 5-hour game.
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Betancourt gave the Royals a 3-2 lead in the 14th on an RBI double, but Kansas City closer Jonathan Broxton (1-1) gave it back. Betancourt then came through with his next opportunity.
“That’s destiny,” Betancourt said of his two RBI chances through an interpreter. “It was my opportunity to put the team ahead twice. I was trying to do my best and it happened.”
Down to their last strike in the ninth, pinch-hitter Billy Butler homered off Cardinals closer Jason Motte for the Royals to tie it. The home run was Butler’s 12th, but the first of his career as a pinch hitter.
“He blew the pitch right before by me,” Butler said. “I just figured I had to shorten up and put the barrel on it. That’s what I did.”
Jarrod Dyson began the 15th inning with a bunt single off St. Louis reliever Eduardo Sanchez (0-1). Dyson was sacrificed to second and, after an out, Betancourt hit an 0-1 pitch into the visitors’ bullpen.
Alex Gordon opened the 14th with his fifth walk, tying the club record he set on July 30, 2008, at Oakland.
Yadier Molina, the last available St. Louis position player, had a pinch-hit RBI single in the 14th off Broxton to tie it 3-all. Broxton was perfect in the 15th for the victory.
“This is as tough as they have been,” Matheny said. “I don’t know any other way to say it.”