Hosmer's homer gives Royals third straight extra-inning win, 2-0 ALDS lead over Angels
Following two consecutive extra-inning victories to start the postseason, the Royals looked to take a 2-0 series lead in the ALDS Friday before returning to Kauffman Stadium. Starting for Kansas City would be rookie phenom Yordano Ventura and his three-digit fastball. The Angels countered with Matt Shoemaker, who won 16 games with a 3.04 ERA in his age-27 rookie season.
Alex Gordon, who led the Royals in homers, RBIs and OPS this season, started off the scoring with a second-inning single to drive in Eric Hosmer:
The Royals clung to their 1-0 lead until the sixth, when Kole Calhoun hit a two-out single, advanced to second on a Mike Trout walk and then scored the tying run on an Albert Pujols base-knock.
Though both rookie starters were dealing (Shoemaker: 6 IP, 1 R, 0 ER; Ventura: 7 IP, 1 R, 1 ER), neither would get a decision. That left it up to the bullpens to keep things close. Well, Jarrod Dyson entering as a defensive replacement and then seeding this laser beam to erase Colin Cowgill at third in the bottom of the eighth also helped:
The game remained all square at 1-1 until the 11th, when Lorenzo Cain used his wheels to beat out an infield single:
Then Eric Hosmer stepped to the plate. One day after fellow former first-round draftee Mike Moustakas smashed an extra-inning go-ahead homer, Hosmer did the same. The two-run shot gave the Royals a 3-1 lead.
Two batters later, and after Alex Gordon stole his second base of the game (and third in three games), Salvador Perez came through with an insurance RBI:
Down 4-1 in the bottom of the 11th, Kole Calhoun reached base with two outs, bringing up Mike Trout with Albert Pujols on deck representing the tying run. Unfortunately for the Angels, Trout would strike out to end the game. Through the first two games of the ALDS, the AL MVP front-runner is 0-for-8.
Now with a commanding 2-0 lead in the series, the Royals are also racking up innings as if they were frequent flyer miles. After playing 12 innings in their Wild Card matchup with the A's and 11 innings in their Game 1 victory against the Angels, the team has played seven innings of bonus baseball in its first three postseason games. It's the first time since 1980 that a team has done so:
That they won is even more impressive.
Game notes: The Royals are the first team in Major League history to win three consecutive extra-inning postseason games.- Kansas City Royals (@Royals) October 4, 2014
The Game Changer
While Hosmer's three-hit game and the game-winning home run gave the Royals a 2-0 series lead, special mention must be made of Yordano Ventura. The 23-year-old rookie dominated Angels batters, showing off 101-mph heat when he needed it:
He was so good that TBS reporter Matt Winer tried to hide from him:
Angels starter Matt Shoemaker nearly matched Ventura pitch-for-pitch. The bearded hurler fanned six in his six innings and surrendered only one unearned run:
Other key players, plays
Though Trout has an 88 percent success rate on stolen bases during the regular season, he was no match for Salvador Perez's cannon in Friday's first inning. In fact, it wasn't even close:
There was a frightening moment for the Royals in the fifth inning when Josh Hamilton's backswing caught Salvador Perez in the facemask. Though Perez seemed shaken up, he was able to stay in the game, finishing 2-for-5 with the final RBI.
As for what helped Hosmer drive out his extra-inning blast, there are only two options. Either Raul Ibanez's rally cap-free confidence:
Or Jarrod Dyson's electric haircut:
Unfortunately for this thunder stick-wielding Angels fan, he'll never stop hearing the end of it from his Royals buddy:
The teams will take tomorrow off as they travel to Kansas City, returning to action on Sunday. C.J. Wilson (13-10, 4.51) will toe the slab for the Angels in their must-win game, while the Royals will look to close out the series behind James Shields (14-8, 3.21). Tune in Sunday at 7:30 ET on TBS.