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Oct 3, 2014 9:17 PM

Royals closer has wild day before playoff save

The Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) After a cross-country scramble that included the birth of his first child, a night in the hospital and some fast talking, just getting inside Angel Stadium was quite a relief for Kansas City closer Greg Holland.

Holland capped off his wild adventure with a save Thursday night as the Royals held off the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 in 11 innings in their AL Division Series opener.

Not bad, considering he got to the ballpark in the middle of the game.

"The guy that dropped me off did a great job getting me here, but he didn't really know where to go, and I didn't know where to go, either," Holland said before Game 2 on Friday night.

"So I kind of made a few security guards nervous running up to them with a pack over my shoulder with my ID in my hand saying, 'I'm a player. I'm a player. Don't tackle me to the ground' kind of thing."

The rush began after Holland helped the Royals beat Oakland in the wild-card game Tuesday night in Kansas City. He then chartered a flight to Asheville, North Carolina.

Shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday, wife Lacey delivered Nash Gregory Holland. The pitcher spent the night in the hospital both his wife and son are doing well and prepared to rejoin the Royals on the West Coast.

"Me and my wife kind of booked all that, so it was kind of hectic trying to do that while you're in the delivery room booking flights and stuff," he said. "But we made it work."

Holland said he got on a chartered plane around 4 p.m. Thursday and arrived at John Wayne Airport in Southern California about 7 p.m.

The game was tied at 1 in the fourth inning when Holland's driver headed to the ballpark. Finding his way inside took a little longer.

"It was kind of hectic running through the parking lot. But they let me in," he said.

"It was kind of weird when a guy's like, 'You're a player? That's not possible because the game is in the fifth inning.' But I had to explain the details and actually got a 'congratulations' and he jogged me right down the concourse and got me where I needed to go," Holland said.

He got loose in the locker room and made it to the bullpen in the middle of the sixth inning. And that settled down Royals manager Ned Yost.

"I mean, I was locked into the game, but I was locked into where the heck he was, too," Yost said. "OK, am I going to have Holly or am I not going to have Holly?"

"He was supposed to be here at 3. Ended up, last I heard, 6. And the game started, and it was like 7. Is Holly here yet?" he said.

In the 11th, Yost called on Holland to protect a one-run lead. Holland struck out his first two batters and retired Josh Hamilton on a popup to end it.

"Physically, I was kind of worn out," he said. "I'm glad it turned out good and there wasn't a whole lot of turmoil in the bottom half of that inning."


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