October 11, 2014

ALCS 1: Royals 8, Orioles 6 (10)

Royals  - 004 010 000 3 - 8 12  1
Orioles - 001 031 000 1 - 6 14  1
Alex Gordon's third hit of the night - a solo home run to deep right-center - snapped a 5-5 tie in the top of the tenth inning. Mike Moustakas added a two-run dong for what ended up being some much-needed insurance. Greg Holland got the first two outs in the bottom of the inning, but the Orioles would not go quietly, scoring once and bringing Nick Markakis to the plate as the potential game-winning run. However, Baltimore's leadoff man grounded to second, ending the rain-soaked game at 12:49 am.

To become the first major league team to win four extra-inning games in a single postseason, the Royals had to overcome starter James Shields's (5-10-4-1-3, 90) inability to hold a 5-1 lead, an infuriating seventh inning in which all three outs were probably blown by the umpires, and a ninth-inning squander in which Kansas City loaded the bases with no outs on three walks, but could not score.

In the early innings, it was Orioles starter Chris Tillman (4.1-7-5-2-3, 84) who seemed to have arrived on the mound with nothing. He allowed a single in each of the first two innings, before the roof fell in in the third. Alcides Escobar whacked a one-out home run. Two singles and a walk loaded the sacks with two gone, and Gordon cleared them with a soft fly to right that fell for a three-run double. He finished the night with four RBI.

Baltimore got one run back in the home half of the third and after KC made it 5-1 in the fifth, Shields immediately turned the contest into a one-run affair, as the first five Orioles reached base. The Royals' sizable lead burned while manager Ned Yost fiddled in the dugout, refusing to replace Shields, who desperately needs a new - and more appropriate - nickname. (He's allowed at least four runs in five of his nine postseason starts.)

The Orioles tied the game in the sixth and were primed for more, but Kevin Herrera came in from the pen and got a force play at third and a double play off the bat of Nelson Cruz. Herrera and Wade Davis each pitched two scoreless innings for KC, with Davis fanning four of the six batters he faced, including all three - Baltimore's 2-3-4 hitters - in the ninth.

Nori Aoki walked to open the Royals' seventh. Pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson took off for second base on a 1-2 count to Lorenzo Cain. Dyson beat the throw with a head-first slide, but passed a bit over the bag and seemed to have his foot nudged off the base by Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop's glove. Umpire Joe West called Dyson out; the play was not eligible for review. Then home plate umpire Tim Timmons called Cain out on a pitch that was clearly outside. After a pitching change, Eric Hosmer singled to right, a hit that likely would have scored the speedy Dyson. Timmons then rang up Billy Butler on what looked like ball 4 to end the inning.

Britton began the top of the ninth by walking Escobar on a full count pitch, then issuing four-pitch passes to Dyson and Cain. Hosmer took ball 1, then inexplicably waved at a pitch way outside for a strike. Britton used that to battle to a full count before getting Hosmer to chop the ball to first. Steve Pearce's throw home was wide and catcher Nick Hundley barely got his foot back on the plate in time to force Escobar. Darren O'Day relieved Britton, and induced Butler to GIDP to shortstop.

O'Day stayed in to pitch the tenth, and his right-handed sidearming fastball was easy pickings for the lefty-hitting Gordon, whose mighty line drive over the wall broke the 5-5 tie. After a walk and a strikeout, Brian Matusz came in to give up Moustakas's two-run celebration.

The Royals are a perfect 5-0 in the postseason so far, with ALCS 2 set for at 4 pm on Saturday. ... This week in Kansas City, they changed the name of "Baltimore Avenue" to "Royals Avenue". No word on whether they have banned the eating of oranges.

1 comment:

Jere said...

A mile east of Yankee Stadium: http://goo.gl/maps/TiKdQ