10/09 19:22 CDT Royals rally, beat Astros 5-4 to even ALDS at 1 game each
Royals rally, beat Astros 5-4 to even ALDS at 1 game each
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) --- The Kansas City Royals whipped out the same formula
that carried them to last year's World Series to turn back the Houston Astros
and tie their AL Division Series at a game apiece.
Some clutch hitting. Stingy defense. An unflappable bullpen.
Even a little help from replay.
"Just battling," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "That's what this team does so
The Royals rallied from a three-run deficit Friday, getting a go-ahead single
from Ben Zobrist in the seventh inning, and then watched Wade Davis and the
bullpen make it stand in a 5-4 victory that brought back memories of their
nip-and-tuck postseason of a year ago.
The Royals knotted the game at 4 off Scott Kazmir and relievers Oliver Perez
and Josh Fields in the sixth. Kansas City took the lead in the seventh when
Alcides Escobar led off with a triple against Will Harris (0-1) and Zobrist
followed with his single through the left side.
Kelvin Herrera (1-0) and Ryan Madson each tossed a scoreless inning for the
Royals, and Davis came on to close it --- though the real drama was only
Davis walked Preston Tucker with one out, and speedy Carlos Gomez came in as a
pinch-runner. Davis snapped a throw to Hosmer at first, and he neatly snagged
it on one hop as Gomez made a dive back to the bag. Gomez was initially ruled
safe, but the call was overturned upon review.
"That play that Hos made on the pickoff, I don't know if there's a lot of first
basemen that can make that play," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It was
Jose Altuve then grounded out to end it, giving Davis the save.
It was a crucial victory considering what awaits Kansas City in Game 3 on
Sunday: Astros ace Dallas Keuchel, who was 15-0 at home this season. Edinson
Volquez will start for Kansas City.
"We were in position to win that game. Their bullpen did a very good job of
shutting us down," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We've got some work to do
to win this series. It's going to be a good series. These are two really good
Two starters acquired with October in mind, Kazmir and Royals counterpart
Johnny Cueto, pitched mostly to a stalemate Friday, which meant the outcome
hinged on the bullpens. Kansas City's relief corps was simply better,
preserving the first win by a home team this postseason.
"They compete," said Salvador Perez, who homered for the Royals. "Pretty good
Colby Rasmus homered, doubled and drove in two runs for Houston, becoming the
first player in major league history with an extra-base hit in his first six
postseason games. George Springer had a pair of RBIs after hitting a solo shot
in the series opener.
"Just to let it slip away late is kind of a downer," Astros reliever Tony Sipp
said. "We had a lead late and let it slip away. We had the momentum going."
The Astros jumped on Cueto right from the start, just as they did Yordano
Ventura in Game 1 on Thursday night. Rasmus doubled in a run in the first
inning, and Springer added a two-run knock in the second as restless Royals
fans began to shower their ace with boos.
Perez got one back for Kansas City with his homer to left in the bottom half,
but Rasmus matched him with his third home run in three games this postseason.
Cueto finally settled in, but it looked as if it would be too late. Kazmir
allowed a run in the third, but otherwise had Kansas City off balance until the
Still trailing 4-2, Lorenzo Cain got the Royals' tying rally started with a
double, and Hinch called for Oliver Perez. He allowed back-to-back singles and
a walk to leave the bases loaded for Fields, who walked Salvador Perez on four
pitches to tie the game.
When the Royals took the lead the following inning, their shutdown bullpen made
"I'm happy we're going home," Hinch said. "We've got home-field advantage for
the rest of this series. We have to take care of business in our own yard."
Astros rookie Carlos Correa fouled a pitched off the inside of his back knee in
the fifth inning, and for a while appeared as if he might leave the game. He
remained in and struck out, but came back with a single off Herrera in the
Keuchel threw six shutout innings in the Astros' wild-card win over the
Yankees, and tossed eight shutout frames against the Royals in June. Volquez
tossed two scoreless innings of relief in Kansas City's regular-season finale
in Minnesota to tune up for the playoffs.