Royals head into the sixth inning with a commanding five-run lead over the Angels

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The Royals have been doing it all in Game 3 of the ALDS as they attempt to finish off a series sweep against the Angels. They chased starter C.J. Wilson after scoring three runs on an Alex Gordon double in the first inning. Eric Hosmer hit a two-run home run in the third inning, and the Royals tacked on two more in the fourth on a Mike Moustakas solo home run and a Lorenzo Cain sacrifice fly, making it 7-2. Offense: check.

Something unexpected happened in the third inning. After Hosmer’s homer, Billy Butler walked, and then — you may want to sit down for this — he stole second base. It marks his first stolen base since July 5, 2012. It was also his last attempt at swiping a bag. Speed: check.

In the top of the fifth, the Royals flashed some leather as Cain made two spectacular sliding catches for the second and third outs. With runners on first and second and one out, Albert Pujols hit a soft fly ball to shallow left-center. Cain galloped over and made the head-first diving catch just before the ball could make contact with the grass. The next batter,  Howie Kendrick, hit a line drive to center field. Cain calmly strode in and made a feet-first sliding snag to end the inning. Cain emphatically pumped his fist and yelled something in celebration. As the Royals left the field, starter James Shields doffed his cap to Cain to show his thanks. Defense: check.

We’ve seen plenty of comebacks and big innings already in this young post-season, so nothing is certain yet. But the Royals are 12 defensive outs away from punching their ticket to the ALCS to match up against the Orioles.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.