ARLINGTON -- Royals manager Ned Yost went stalking to the mound in the ninth inning on Saturday night. The situation had suddenly turned grim.
The Rangers had scored two runs off reliever Aaron Crow, cutting the Royals' lead to 6-3, and there was a man at first base with two outs. Closer Greg Holland was heating up in the bullpen, a save situation had developed.
Crow had walked Alex Rios, given up a single to Adrian Beltre and a two-run hit to Leonys Martin.
Yost had every intention of replacing Crow with Holland. Then Yost looked in Crow's eyes and saw a deeply determined, dark stare.
"You never want to put your closer in a position where one pitch ties the game," Yost said. "So I went out to get Holly but when I got there [Crow] was locked on eye contact: 'Skip, I have got this guy. I've got him. I promise you I've got him. I can get him, I've got him. And I said, 'A.C., go get him.'"
Changing his mind, Yost went back to the dugout alone. Crow got J.P. Arencibia to fly out harmlessly to center field and the Royals' 6-3 victory was in hand.
"I was tired of getting pulled in the middle of an inning so I was ready to finish one," Crow said.
This was the third straight time that Crow had run into late-inning trouble. On Monday at Minnesota, he'd given up a three-run homer and Holland had to ride to the rescue.
"I wanted to put a stop to it, going into tomorrow, knowing that we didn't have to use Greg tonight when it was a five-run game," Crow said.
"With this team we have now, with the way we're playing, we're going to win games when it's not going to be a save situation so if that's going to be my role, then I've got to step up and make sure we don't use the closer."
And that's why Yost decided to leave Crow in the game.
"Because we need to get him going. I'm thinking if he can get this guy it's going to be a big confidence boost," Yost said. "It was just a choice [I made]. I hated to do it because Holly was hot and ready to come in and get a save but it's really important that we get A.C. going."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less