Royals sweep Angels, punch their ticket to the ALCS

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The Royals rode a strong outing from “Big Game” James Shields and a relentless offense to take an easy 8-3 win over the Angels in Game 3 of the ALDS on Sunday, completing a series sweep and punching their ticket into the ALCS against the Orioles.

Shields fell behind early, surrendering a first-inning solo home run to Mike Trout in the top of the first. But the Royals countered, scoring three on Alex Gordon’s bases-clearing double to left-center in the bottom half. From there, the Royals would never relinquish their lead.

The Royals kept adding on, scoring twice in the third inning on Eric Hosmer’s two run home run, and twice in the fourth on a Mike Moustakas solo homer and a Lorenzo Cain sacrifice fly. Norichika Aoki made it 8-2 in the sixth with an RBI single.

Shields gave up another solo home run, this time to Albert Pujols, in the fourth, but that was it. Overall, he gave up six hits and two walks while striking out six. Cain helped Shields out twice with two spectacular catches in the top of the fifth inning that prevented the Angels from reducing their deficit.

Shields’ counterpart, C.J. Wilson, failed to make it out of the first inning, as Mike Scioscia chose to yank him with two outs in the bottom of the first. The Angels got the remaining 22 outs with seven relievers.

Once Shields departed, Kelvim Herrera tossed a scoreless seventh, Wade Davis allowed a meaningless run in the eighth, and Greg Holland nailed down the win in the top of the ninth, striking out pinch-hitter Hank Conger, inducing a ground ball that Omar Infante fielded with a bare hand, and fanning Trout for the final out.

Both the Royals and Orioles, having completed sweeps, now have a lot of downtime. The two clubs won’t match up for Game 1 of the ALCS until Friday night.

The Angels, meanwhile, will lick their wounds as they attempt to answer how they won the most games of any team in the majors during the regular season, but their $154 million roster showed up flat in the playoffs against a team that won nine fewer games and didn’t even win their division.

Angels acquire Jabari Blash from the Yankees

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The Yankees announced on Wednesday that the club traded outfielder Jabari Blash to the Angels in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Blash, 28, was acquired by the Yankees from the Padres back in December in the Chase Headley trade. In trading Blash to the Angels, the Yankees were able to free up a spot on the 40-man roster for Brandon Drury, the infielder they acquired as part of a three-team trade with the Diamondbacks and Rays on Tuesday.

Over parts of two seasons in the majors, Blash has hit an underwhelming .200/.323/.336 in 279 plate appearances. He will try to play his way into a bench role for the Angels this spring.