Royals beating Blue Jays at their own power game
TORONTO -- The Royals muscled up and outpowered their seemingly burlier opponents on Tuesday, beating the Blue Jays at their own explosive offensive game to flip the narrative upside down and regain momentum in a 14-2 drubbing in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre.
"Obviously, they have some good hitters over there with ridiculous numbers," Royals outfielder Alex Gordon said. "We really don't have those guys that have 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, so maybe that's why we don't get talked about a lot. But we feel like up and down the lineup, we can swing the bat good, and we're going to be a tough out, one through nine."
Both clubs regularly score in multiple ways, with the home run being Toronto's specialty. But it was Kansas City using a pair of long balls to gain an early advantage on Tuesday, before returning to its typical pesky ways to pile it on in the blowout, which put the Royals one win away from of a second consecutive World Series appearance.
The Royals have outscored the Blue Jays, 33-16, through the first four games of the series, plating 49 runs in their past six games -- five of them wins. Moreover, they've scored five or more runs in all of them, after doing so in no more than four straight contests during the regular season, and they're only the third team to do so within a single postseason, joining the 1987 Twins (seven games) and 2005 White Sox (six).
All but one Kansas City starter notched a hit, four starters tallied two or more, and the team compiled 15 in all for a second consecutive day for the first time since Sept. 17-18, 2011. The Royals finished 8-for-11 with runners in scoring position, executed an MLB postseason-record four sacrifice flys, and also scored on a passed ball and a wild pitch, basically beating the Blue Jays in every way possible to rebound from Monday's 11-8 loss in Game 2.
"We're a good offensive team," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "Our park, our style of play is a little different, obviously. We like to use our legs and be athletic, but when we come to some of these parks, where the fences aren't as deep, we've got some guys that can put the ball in the seats."
But first, the game began in familiar fashion, with Alcides Escobar finding his way on base -- for a ninth time this series -- with a bunt single down the third-base line. That helped put in motion an offensive outburst that drained Toronto's bullpen so badly that the Blue Jays had to place a pure position player, Cliff Pennington, on the mound for the first time in postseason history.
"He sets the tone," Gordon said of Escobar. "You've seen it the last four games. He's the guy that gets our offense going and wakes everyone up."
Four of Tuesday's runs came in the first inning against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, when Ben Zobrist hit the first of two Royals home runs in the game, while Toronto managed none against four Kansas City pitchers. Alex Rios, who was just 1-for-10 in the series before stepping to the plate in the second inning, flashed his own strength with a solo shot to left, giving the Royals seven players who have homered this postseason.
"I don't know how they feel about us, but I know that we're very confident in the team that we have," Rios said. "We have a very well-balanced team from top to bottom. You can't ask for anything better."