(AP)KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar tipped their caps and likely said goodbye to Kansas City’s fans.
Then the playoff-bound Arizona Diamondbacks ended the regular season with a 14-2 win over the Royals on Sunday.
It didn’t stop the quartet — all pending free agents who have been with Kansas City since 2011 — from going out in memorable fashion.
Manager Ned Yost pulled the group together with one out in the fifth inning. The players hugged behind the pitchers’ mound, then waved their caps to the cheering crowd as they walked off the field. Salvador Perez, who also debuted with Kansas City in 2011, embraced the group on the top step of the dugout.
The foursome keyed the team’s run into consecutive World Series, including a championship in 2015, but now they’re all eligible for free agency.
“The bond we all have, they can never take away from us,” Hosmer said. “I’ve really enjoyed playing with these guys the last 10 years of my life, not only that, but growing up with these guys as well.”
The Royals played a video honoring the players after the game, and fans stayed and applauded.
The players also got standing ovations for each of their at-bats. Hosmer homered in the first inning and hugged Moustakas as he crossed the plate.
“I was a wreck all day,” Moustakas said. “After he hit his home run, I had tears in my eyes, and I’m trying to hit. I had no idea what was going on. It was unbelievable. That was one of the coolest moments that I’ve been a part of, watching the fans of Kansas City give an ovation and then going out there and hitting a home run. I couldn’t believe that happened.
“Going into this offseason, we don’t know what’s ahead of us. It’s our first time doing this, so no telling what can happen.”
Before those four players arrived, Kansas City hadn’t been to the postseason since winning the 1985 World Series. The Royals had the worst record in the majors from 2000-09, losing 100 or more games four times.