Update: Royals reliever Wade Davis held the Orioles scoreless in the bottom half of the ninth, so we’re headed to extra innings. Free baseball.
The Royals had a golden opportunity to retake the lead in the top of the ninth against the Orioles, but they missed the boat big time. Orioles closer Zach Britton struggled mightily with his control, walking the first three batters he faced. The lefty was able to get Eric Hosmer to hit into a fielder’s choice, first base to home, before giving way to sidewinding right-handed reliever Darren O’Day to face the right-handed Billy Butler.
O’Day battled Butler, getting ahead 1-2. Butler then fouled off a couple of tough pitches before grounding into a soul-crushing inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. So, Game 1 of the ALCS will head into the bottom of the ninth with the score still deadlocked at 5-5.
According to Baseball Prospectus, more than two runs scored on average when the bases were loaded with no outs. FanGraphs had the Royals’ win probability at 72 percent after Hosmer’s ground out and it fell all the way to 38 percent after Butler’s double play. Brutal.