Four of the Kansas City Royals’ five playoff games have gone into extra innings. Considering the team has won all of them, it’s safe to say that putting in the extra time isn’t something that’s bothered them all that much.
Kansas City won another extra-inning effort in Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday, knocking off the Baltimore Orioles, 8-6 in ten frames to take a 1-0 series lead. The win was the fifth consecutive victory in the postseason for the Royals, who remain undefeated since the end of the regular season.
The Royals didn’t show much power in the regular season, but the franchise has been winning more than its fair share of games with late heroics via the long ball.
Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer both hit extra inning home runs in the 11th inning in Games 1 and 2 of the ALDS against the Los Angeles Angels to send the team to victory. Kansas City was back at it again with 10th inning blasts by Alex Gordon and Moustakas on Friday to give the Royals a late three-run lead. Baltimore tacked on one in the bottom of the inning but it wasn’t enough.
For Gordon, the home run was icing on the cake. The solo shot in the 10th inning was his third hit as part of a 3-4 night with four runs batted in. Nick Markakis and Ryan Flaherty collected three hits for the Orioles in the losing effort.
With a comfortable 5-1 lead in the fifth inning, Kansas City’s pitchers allowed Baltimore back into the game over the next two innings.
James Shields‘ streaky postseason continued as he gave up three runs on four hits and a walk in the fifth as Baltimore closed the gap to 5-4. Following Shields’ exit, an infield single by Alejandro De Aza scored Jonathan Schoop in the sixth inning to tie the game.
For Shields, it was the second time in three playoff games where he allowed four earned runs in only five innings of work. He sandwiched a strong effort in Game 3 of the ALDS (two earned runs with six strikeouts in six innings) in between Friday night’s start and the Wild Card game, but for the most part, Shields has been underwhelming.
Interestingly enough, the Royals threw away a chance to win the game outright before things even reached extra innings. Kansas City drew three consecutive walks off of Orioles’ reliever Zach Britton loading the bases without a single out. But a Hosmer groundout resulting in a fielder’s choice at home and ensuing double play by Billy Butler ended the rally, sending the game into extra frames.
Fortunately for Kansas City, it didn’t matter in the end.