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

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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.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.