Uncaught popup helps Royals storm back in 7th
Down three entering inning, KC finally solves Toronto ace Price
KANSAS CITY -- Even the Royals thought it looked familiar. Without question, the amazing five-run rally on Saturday that crushed the Blue Jays mirrored the five-run rally against Houston in Game 4 of the American League Division Series that saved Kansas City's season.
In both cases, the Royals seemed lifeless and out of it. Both times they overcame that for a win. On Saturday, it was a 6-3 victory in Game 2 of the AL Championship Series, providing Kansas City with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Game 3 on Monday (7 p.m. ET air time on FOX Sports 1 and Sportsnet, with game time slated for 8 p.m.) at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
Against the Astros this past Monday, the Royals trailed, 6-2, in the eighth and had just two hits. They were six outs away from their season ending, and then the unthinkable happened: a five-run rally and a 9-6 victory. On Saturday, Kansas City looked even more helpless. The Royals had one hit against the Blue Jays' David Price, who had retired 18 straight.
"Best I've ever seen David pitch," Kansas City second baseman Ben Zobrist said. "By far."
But then came a break: Zobrist's popup to right dropped between right fielder Jose Bautista and second baseman Ryan Goins. Miscommunication.
"It's very hard to hear in that situation," Zobrist said. "I know. I've been there. It's so loud, you think the right fielder is calling for it."
Then came Lorenzo Cain's single to right, extending his postseason hitting streak to 11 games, tying a franchise record set by Amos Otis. Did that name ring a bell for Cain?
"My baseball knowledge isn't that good, I know," Cain said, smiling. "But I have heard of [Otis]. Seen highlights of him."
Eric Hosmer followed with a line single to left, scoring Zobrist and sending Cain to third. Kendrys Morales produced an RBI groundout for a 3-2 deficit as Hosmer took second base.
That brought up a struggling Mike Moustakas, one of the heroes of the 2014 postseason. But Moustakas was in an 0-for-13 slide in the postseason and 2-for-24 overall.
Moustakas dropped another single into right, and third-base coach Mike Jirschele aggressively sent Hosmer home, testing the arm of Bautista, whose throw sailed to the backstop, and Moustakas took second with the score tied at 3.
"I haven't been getting a lot of hits, but I've been putting together good at-bats," Moustakas said. "That keeps me going. It's nice when you're putting together quality at-bats, just not getting results. Today was nice to get that big hit and get on base for [Alex Gordon] to drive me in."
Gordon followed with a rope to right-center for an RBI double and the Royals had the lead, 4-3. Then Alex Rios punched another RBI hit up the middle, and the five-run inning was complete.
"It felt a lot like that game in Houston," Hosmer said. "You know, we just get that mindset of keeping the line moving. Everyone had great at bats. That's what you've got to do."
Gordon could not have agreed more.
"Zobrist's ball, I think, got things going," Gordon said. "And once this lineup gets moving, it's one guy after another."
But Gordon said the Royals would savor the moment briefly before getting back to business.
"You forget about this game," he said. "We're going to enjoy it tonight, but know that it's going to be a challenge in Rogers Centre. That's a tough crowd, good team. It's going to be a challenge. We're going to enjoy it tonight, but forget about it and get a nice workout in and then go to work on Monday."