AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Royals outlast Blue Jays 4-3 in ALCS Game 6, advance to the World Series


A heads-up decision by Royals third base coach Mike Jirschele and terrific base running by Lorenzo Cain helped break a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning, pushing past the Blue Jays to clinch Game 6 of the ALCS on Friday night. They have earned the right to host the Mets in the World Series, which begins on Tuesday.

The game had just resumed after a rain delay lasting around 45 minutes, and the Blue Jays sent closer Roberto Osuna out to the mound. Lorenzo Cain drew a leadoff walk. Eric Hosmer then hooked a single down the right field line, quickly corralled by Jose Bautista. However, Bautista wheeled and fired a high arcing throw into the infield. Upon seeing that, Jirschele waved Cain around the third base bag and he scored easily to break the tie. Kendrys Morales followed up with a single, putting runners at first and second with no outs, but Osuna got Mike Moustakas to fly out and Salvador Perez to hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Closer Wade Davis, who got the final two outs of the eighth inning prior to the rain delay, took the mound in the top of the ninth inning. He got into some trouble, issuing a leadoff single to Russell Martin, then watched pinch-runner Dalton Pompey steal second and third base. Pillar walked and swiped second while Davis struck out pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro. Ben Revere fanned, leaving it all up to Josh Donaldson. Donaldson grounded a 2-2 pitch to Moustakas at third base, who whipped the ball to first baseman Hosmer as the Royals clinched the pennant.

The Royals took an early 2-0 lead against Blue Jays starter David Price as Ben Zobrist slugged a solo home run to left field in the first inning, and Moustakas ripped a line drive home run to right-center in the second, which was upheld upon replay review. The Jays got on the board in the fourth inning when Jose Bautista hit a monster solo home run to left field off of Royals starter Yordano Ventura.

The Royals added an insurance run in the seventh inning when Alex Rios hit an RBI single to right field against Jays reliever Aaron Sanchez. The run was charged to Price, who had exited with two outs and a runner on second base. He finished having allowed three runs on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Ventura allowed the one run on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

Bautista kept the Jays’ playoff hopes alive, smoking a game-tying, two-run home run to left field in the eighth inning against Ryan Madson — his second homer of the game and RBI’s two and three, accounting for all of his team’s runs. The Jays had a few opportunities but non-Bautista hitters weren’t able to come through.

Game 1 of the World Series will be played at 8 PM EDT on Tuesday. Mets manager Terry Collins hasn’t said who he’ll tab with the start, but it sounds like Matt Harvey over Jacob deGrom, according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.