Alex Gordon has come up huge again. The Royals’ outfielder drove in three runs in the third inning with a bloop double down the right field line and he a nice diving catch in the left-center field gap, saving a run. What more could he do?
An inning after the Royals loaded the bases with no outs and went on to score zero runs, Gordon led off the top of the tenth by slugging a Darren O’Day offering to right field with more than enough distance to clear the fence, putting the Royals up 6-5. Gordon is now 3-for-4 on the night. The Royals weren’t done.
O’Day followed up the Gordon at-bat by walking Salvador Perez. He then struck out Omar Infante before manager Buck Showalter opted to bring in Brian Matusz for the left-on-left matchup against Mike Moustakas. Matusz left a fastball over the plate and Moustakas stung it to deep right-center, clearing the fence for a two-run home run, increasing the Royals’ lead to 8-5. Orioles fans made a beeline to the exits. The blasts mark the Royals’ sixth and seventh home runs of the post-season after bringing up the rear in dingers during the regular season with a paltry 95.
Alcides Escobar flew out and Jarrod Dyson struck out to finish out the top of the tenth inning. If closer Greg Holland is able to record the final three outs in the bottom half of the tenth, the Royals will take the first game of the ALCS.
Royals manager Ned Yost had taken some flack for curious use (and non-use) of his relievers. He satiated the critics on Friday night, as Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis have each pitched two innings, combining to allow no hits and no walks while racking up six strikeouts.