ALCS Recap: Royals def. Blue Jays

Kansas City Royals 4, Toronto Blue Jays 2
Game 1:  Kansas City 5, Toronto 0
Game 2:  Kansas City 6, Toronto 3
Game 3:  Toronto 11, Kansas City 8
Game 4:  Kansas City 14, Toronto 2
Game 5:  Toronto 7, Kansas City 1
Game 6:  Kansas City 4, Toronto 3

After ending a 29-year playoff drought a season ago by advancing to the World Series, and losing it in seven games to the Giants, the Royals have booked their return trip to the Fall Classic, eliminating World Series favorite Toronto in the process in a six-game series.  The Royals are the first team to repeat as AL Champions since the 2010-11 Texas Rangers, and will face the NL Champion New York Mets in the World Series.

Starting Point:  Kansas City Domination in First Two Games
The series started with both teams coming off the emotional highs of winning their Division Series matchups in winner-take-all fifth games against Texas and Houston, and in Game 1 Kansas City picked up right where they had left off, while Toronto appeared to have a slight hangover.  The Royals scored two in the third, on RBI hits by Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain, and another in the fourth on a Salvador Perez solo homer.  That was all starter Edinson Volquez needed, as he went six shutout innings, allowing just two hits, before turning it over to the game’s best bullpen, with Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales adding to the lead with RBI in the eighth.  Game 2 looked different for six innings, as the Blue Jays led 3-0 on a third inning RBI double by Ryan Goins and an Edwin Encarnacion RBI single and Troy Tulowitzski RBI double in the sixth.  But Blue Jays starter David Price came unraveled in the seventh, and suddenly it was 5-3 Royals after RBI by Hosmer, Morales, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, and Alex Rios, and the excellent Royals bullpen didn’t need any more help, although they got some in the eighth from Moustakas with another RBI, as the Royals won 6-3 to take a 2-0 series lead.

Turning Point: 14 Royals Runs in Game 4
The Royals took their momentum from the ninth inning of Game 3, when they turned an 11-4 deficit into a more respectable 11-8 loss which made it a 2-1 series, into Game 4, roughing up Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey for four runs in the first, with the biggest blow coming from a Ben Zobrist two-run homer, and an add-on run in the second, courtesy of a Rios long ball, giving the Royals a quick 5-0 lead.  Toronto scored a pair in the third on a Josh Donaldson ground rule double and a Jose Bautista RBI groundout, before Kansas City blew it open with four in the seventh, three in the eighth, and two in the ninth.  The 14-2 win meant the Royals were up 3-1, and within a game of the World Series.

Ending Point:  Lorenzo Cain’s Baserunning and Wade Davis’s Pitching
The series finally produced a classic game in Game 6 in Kansas City.  The Royals took an early 2-0 lead on homers by Zobrist in the first and Moustakas in the second, before Bautista countered with a long ball in the fourth to make it 2-1.  The Royals increased their lead to 3-1 on a seventh inning RBI single by Rios, before Bautista homered again, this time hitting a two-run shot, to tie the score at 3-3 in the top of the eighth.  Closer Wade Davis got the Royals out of the inning with no further damage, but then a 45-minute rain delay halted the game before the bottom of the eighth.  Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna came in after the delay in the bottom of the eighth, walking Cain to start the inning.  On an ensuing Eric Hosmer single down the right field line, Cain scored from first, a rare feat of baserunning excellence, giving the Royals a 4-3 lead.  Osuna eventually got a double play to escape the inning.  Despite the delay, and having not thrown a pitch in over an hour, Davis returned to the mound for the ninth, and at first didn’t look quite as sharp, as Russell Martin singled to center and, after pinch-runner Dalton Pompey stole second and third, walking Kevin Pillar to put both the tying and go-ahead runs on base with no one out.  Davis then turned the switch back to his normal, 0.94 ERA self, striking out Dioner Navarro and Ben Revere, before getting possible AL MVP Josh Donaldson to ground out to third to end the game.  Like last year, a groundout to Moustakas was the final out of the ALCS, clinching a World Series berth for the Royals.

The Royals won the fourth American League championship in their franchise history, with previous titles in 1980, 1985, and 2014, and advance to play the Mets in the first ever World Series between two expansion teams, beginning Tuesday in Kansas City.

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One thought on “ALCS Recap: Royals def. Blue Jays

  1. Pingback: World Series Preview: New York Mets vs. Kansas City Royals | Stiles On Sports

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