Royals complete ALCS sweep with 2-1 win, reach their first World Series since 1985
A 7-0 start to this postseason pushed the Royals to the cusp of their first World Series appearance since 1985. A victory on Wednesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium would almost certainly send Kansas City into a frenzy -- not to mention into the Fall Classic. The Orioles were backed to the brink of elimination, attempting to pull off what only one team -- the Red Sox of 2004 -- had ever accomplished by overcoming a 3-0 deficit.
Miguel Gonzalez would make his first start since Sept. 28 in Toronto, aimed with the task of keeping the Orioles' season alive. His opponent, Jason Vargas, made up for his rough September with a strong performance in the Division Series (allowing just two runs in six innings against the Angels).
It seems as if the Royals can do no wrong this month. They made two solid defensive plays and scored two runs off Gonzalez -- on an infield single, a hit by pitch, a bunt and an error -- all in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead.
Ryan Flaherty provided a spark for the Orioles in the third with this solo home run to right field, cutting the lead in half.
Alex Gordon re-energized the Kansas City crowd in the fifth inning by adding to the squad's extensive highlight reel of defensive plays.
Vargas provided a solid outing, allowing one run on two hits while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings before handing it over to the Royals' vaunted bullpen.
No #Royals starting pitcher has recorded an out after the sixth inning in this series. And they're in position to sweep.- Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 15, 2014
That bullpen is vaunted because of people like Kelvin Herrera:
Greg Holland came on to close out the ninth. He walked the first batter, Adam Jones, before retiring the next three batters in order, inducing a grounder to third for the final out.
That means one thing: The Royals are going to the World Series ...
George Brett is pumped:
And let the celebration begin:
The Game Changer
The Royals completed one of the closest sweeps of all-time, winning four games by a total of six runs. It went right along with their ability to win games by the slimmest of margins all postseason, where they are now 8-0.
The Royals have won games in the 2014 postseason by the scores of 9-8, 3-2, 4-1, 8-3, 8-6, 6-4, 2-1 and 2-1. That takes skill and luck.- Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 15, 2014
Other Key Players/Plays
Gonzalez provided a solid outing for the Orioles, surrendering four hits and just two runs (one earned) in 5 2/3 innings, but that was all the Royals needed.
That's it for Gonzalez. 5 2/3 innings. Ks Moustakas as his last out. Longest Os start this series.- Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) October 15, 2014
Lorenzo Cain was named the ALCS MVP after batting .533 with eight hits and five runs scored this series.
The World Series begins Tuesday night in Kansas City. The Royals can now allow their bullpen to rest, set their rotation, and wait for the winner of the National League pennant: the Cardinals or Giants.