And Hosmer did just that, lifting a towering fly ball to medium right field, to the one Mets outfielder in Curtis Granderson the Royals knew they could run on. Shortstop Alcides Escobar took a few steps back to tag at third while third-base coach Mike Jirschele shouted, "You're going!"
Escobar raced home ahead of Granderson's throw and the marathon night was over as the Royals walked off with a 5-4 win in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday.
For Hosmer, it was a moment of redemption. The Gold Glove first baseman had booted a grounder by Wilmer Flores in the top of the eighth inning that allowed the Mets to take a 4-3 lead.
"It took kind of a funny hop," Hosmer said, "but no excuses. I have to make that play."
When Hosmer didn't, he worried that he'd dug his team a 1-0 deficit in the Series.
But then Alex Gordon, with one out in the bottom of the ninth, smoked a home run off Mets closer Jeurys Familia, tying the score.
The first one to greet Gordon in the dugout? Hosmer, of course.
"I don't remember if I said anything," Hosmer said. "I just hugged him. I told him I didn't have any words."
Hosmer's gratitude was obvious.
"I was the happiest guy in the stadium to have another opportunity to do something positive," he said. "Obviously, you don't want the game to end like that [after an error]. That's why Gordon means so much to this team. He put the team on his back, got us back in the game and Chris Young kept giving us opportunities to win the game in the bottom half of innings."
That final opportunity came courtesy of a gift similar to Hosmer's. Escobar reached on David Wright's error, then scooted to third on Ben Zobrist's single to right.
That's when the Royals knew they were approaching checkmate.
"When I was on third with nobody out, I said, 'We're winning this game,'" Escobar said.
The Mets loaded the bases by walking Lorenzo Cain intentionally, bringing up Homser.
"I really was just trying to get it in play and hoping something good would happen," Hosmer said.
Jirschele had no doubt he was sending Escobar. Of the Mets' three outfielders, Granderson will be their target to run on this Series.
"I knew I'd send him the minute I saw how deep it was going to go," Jirschele said. "I didn't have any doubt. With Esky on third, you got to send him there. Actually it was a little closer than I thought it was going to be, but I wasn't really worried."
And when Hosmer, who with 25 postseason RBIs is the Royals' all-time leader, looked back to see Escobar score, he couldn't tell what emotion was going through him.
"You're definitely relieved, that's for sure," he said. "Exhausted at the same time, but any time you can get a victory, doesn't matter how long of a wait, we'll play it out as long as we can."
Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.