In a hunt-and-peck thriller, the Royals’ roaches exterminate the A’s

Perez strokes the game-winner that'll pay for his steaks in K.C. for, oh, forever . . .

Perez strokes the game-winner that’ll pay for his steaks in K.C. for, oh, forever . . .

The Pirates and the Giants have their work cut out for them before they square off in the National League wild card game Wednesday. Unless they think they can come up with even half the hair-raiser the American League game was Tuesday night, that is.

Frankly, Bernard Malamud and Douglas Wallop themselves couldn’t have written Tuesday’s script. Kansas City, which hasn’t seen the Royals anywhere near the postseason since the Reagan Administration, wouldn’t have bought it prior to Tuesday night.

The Mariano, once more around the home park

The Mariano says goodbye to Yankee Stadium . . .

The Mariano says goodbye to Yankee Stadium . . .

The game meant nothing to the Yankees otherwise. They staggered out of the postseason picture one day earlier. These mostly old and mostly battered Yankees had nothing but will to get them far enough that they held onto postseason hopes by a frayed thread at best. Behind 4-0 to the Rays Thursday night in Yankee Stadium, a deficit that would hold up, there was only one reason for manager Joe Girardi to bring in his closer at all, never mind in the top of the eight.