Dyson enters for defense, shows off rocket arm
Royals again receive boost from stellar outfield work in ALDS
ANAHEIM -- Royals manager Ned Yost said it is a defensive maneuver he has been making the past two months. But putting Jarrod Dyson in center field in the eighth inning on Friday night has probably not paid off as big as it did in the Royals' 4-1 victory in 11 innings over the Angels.
Once again the pitching and defense came through for the Royals and put them up 2-0 in their American League Division Series. The defensive part came in the bottom of the eighth with the score 1-1 after Dyson went in to play center and Lorenzo Cain went to right for Nori Aoki.
"Yeah, we've done that the last two months," Yost said. "Every time we've had the lead or tied after the seventh inning, we put Jarrod Dyson in the game. It increases our range in the outfield with Dyson center, and Lorenzo Cain in right field. We just use it to our advantage. Those guys catch everything that's hit out there."
This wasn't a catch as much as a throw. C.J. Cron led off the eighth with a double against reliever Wade Davis, bringing up Chris Iannetta with Collin Cowgill entering the game as a pinch-runner. Iannetta hit a fly ball to center field that Dyson ran down at medium depth. Cowgill tagged up and tried for third but Dyson gunned him down with an on-target throw.
"I was coming up throwing," Dyson said. "I mean, he's got good speed so I'm not surprised -- I probably would've taken off too, but it just didn't work out for him. It was huge, man, because if he'd have gotten to third there, it would've just been one out and anything could've gotten him in."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Cowgill made the right call trying for third.
"He went on his own, and that's a great play by Collin," Scioscia said. " He's aggressive. He made the read. Dyson made an incredible throw. The ball maybe died a little bit as far as when it was hit by Chris. Looked like it was going to carry far enough to get [Cowgill] over. Dyson covered a lot of ground and made a great throw. Dyson just made an incredible defensive play."
The Angels need to take some risks because the Royals are shutting them down with pitching and defense. Starter Yordano Ventura started the pitching parade with seven strong innings, allowing one run on five hits and a walk while striking out five. His fastball was frequently hitting 100 mph on the radar gun as he matched Angels starter Matt Shoemaker.
"That was some electric stuff," Scioscia said. "You know he has a good arm, really threw some really good breaking balls. ... Made some pitches when he had to, but he's got a great arm, and he brought that stuff on to the field. It was a heck of a pitchers' duel. We just couldn't get it done late."
The Royals also needed four scoreless innings from their bullpen on their way to becoming the first Major League team to ever win three straight extra-innings games in the postseason. Davis got the eighth, Jason Frasor set down Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick in order in the ninth and Brandon Finnegan got through the 10th by getting Josh Hamilton to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Finnegan was rewarded with his first Major League victory when the Royals scored three in the top of the 11th and Greg Holland recorded his second straight save in the bottom of the inning. The Royals' bullpen has delivered nine scoreless innings in the two games.
"It's been phenomenal what they've done," Yost said. "The workload has been heavy for them, but ... our bullpen has been fantastic all year, and they've really done a great job here in these playoffs."