Edinson Volquez fired six scoreless innings and the bullpen held the fort to send the Royals to a 5-0 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday night in Game 1 of the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium. It’s the first time Volquez has been able to complete the sixth inning in a post-season start.
The Royals got on the board in the third inning against Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada when Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar each doubled to right field to push across a run. Lorenzo Cain brought Escobar home shortly thereafter with a single. Catcher Salvador Perez tacked on a solo home run in the fourth — his third round-tripper in the post-season thus far. Estrada finished having allowed the three runs on six hits and no walks with six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
The Blue Jays mounted their biggest threat in the top of the sixth inning against Volquez, drawing back-to-back walks to open up the frame. Edwin Encarnacion struck out, Chris Colabello lined out, and Troy Tulowitzki struck out squelch the rally. Volquez had to throw 37 pitches in the sixth inning to escape danger.
Kelvin Herrera worked a perfect seventh with two strikeouts. In the eighth, Ryan Madson allowed a one-out single and a walk, but wriggled out of trouble when he got Justin Smoak — pinch-hitting for Encarnacion — to pop up and Colabello to ground out. The Royals added insurance in the bottom of the eighth as Eric Hosmer hit an RBI double to right field and Kendrys Morales hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
Luke Hochevar took the mound in the top of the ninth with a five-run lead. He had to work around a one-out fielding error by third baseman Mike Moustakas, getting Kevin Pillar to hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice and Ryan Goins to fly out to left field.
The Blue Jays led the major leagues in offense, averaging 5.5 runs per game. They were shut out just five times in 162 games during the regular season.
The ALCS continues on Saturday at 3:30 PM EDT with David Price starting for the Blue Jays against Yordano Ventura of the Royals.
Update (11:32 PM EDT): X-rays were negative. Encarnacion is considered day-to-day with a ligament sprain in his left middle finger, Rosenthal reports.
Blue Jays DH Edwin Encarnacion was curiously pinch-hit for in the top of the eighth inning on Friday night during ALCS Game 1 against the Royals. It turns out the slugger underwent a precautionary X-ray on his finger or knuckle, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Justin Smoak batted for Encarnacion with runners on first and second with one out, but hit a foul pop-up to first baseman Eric Hosmer. Encarnacion finished 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
More about Encarnacion’s condition should be known shortly or on Saturday.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that former major leaguer Moises Alou is on the Padres’ radar in their search for a new manager. Alou spent 2015 with the Padres as special assistant to player development. He is considered an “outside-the-box” candidate.
Heyman lists Alex Cora, Phil Nevin, Rick Sofield, Ron Gardenhire, Andy Green, and Scott Servais as other potential candidates for the Padres.
Alou, 49, spent parts of 17 seasons in the major leagues with the Pirates, Expos, Marlins, Astros, Cubs, Giants, and Mets. He retired with a career .885 OPS, 332 home runs, and 1,287 RBI.
Update (9:32 PM EDT): Salvador Perez tacked on in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run off of Estrada. It’s his third home run this post-season.
The Royals used a pair of doubles to break a scoreless tie against Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada in the third inning of ALCS game 1. Alex Gordon led off the inning with a line drive double to right field. After Alex Rios struck out, Alcides Escobar brought Gordon home with a double of his own to right field. Cain brought Escobar in with a two-out single to right field to make it 2-0.
Cain has a 10-game playoff hitting streak. He was last held hitless in Game 3 of last year’s World Series against the Giants. Escobar, who is 2-for-2 thus far on Friday night, is on a five-game playoff hitting streak.
Royals starter Edinson Volquez has held the Blue Jays hitless with two walks and a strikeout over three innings. He is looking to complete the sixth inning of a post-season game for the first time in his career.
Chelsea Janes and James Wagner of the Washington Post report that the Nationals plan to interview Giants bench coach Ron Wotus on Monday for their open manager position. The team has already interviewed Dusty Baker and Bud Black.
Wotus, 54, has been the Giants’ bench coach since 1999. Prior to that, he managed in the minor leagues for the Giants following an 11-year professional career that included spending parts of two seasons in the majors with the Pirates in 1983-84.
The Nationals also reportedly have interest in Phil Nevin and Alex Cora.
The failure of former manager Matt Williams has GM Mike Rizzo leaning towards hiring someone with major league managing experience.