Royals use five run 8th to force Game 5

Down 6-2 heading into the top of the eighth, the KC Royals scored five runs and held on to beat Houston, 9-6. There will now be a decisive Game 5 in the American League Division Series, as the series shifts back to Kansas City.

The Astros had just scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh against the Royals bullpen. Kelvin Herrera started the inning and walked the leadoff hitter. Next up was Ryan Madson, who struck out George Springer before allowing back-to-back home runs from Carlos Correa (his second of the game) and Colby Rasmus (his second off Madson in this series).

The Astros then had runners at second and third base with one out, but Madson battled back to escape further damage.

The Royals had a prime opportunity to score in the top of the seventh when Salvador Perez was hit by a pitch. He was pinch run for by Terrance Gore, who then stole second base. However, with two outs and already in scoring position, Gore got greedy and tried to steal third base. He was originally called safe, but replay showed he came off the bag while the tag was still on him. The call was reversed, and the inning was over.

 

The Royals FINALLY capitalized with runners on base in the top of the eighth. They strung together four straight singles off Astros reliever Will Harris (who has been terrible in this series) and scored one run. Next up was lefty Tony Sipp, who allowed an RBI single to Eric Hosmer and then a ground ball up the middle from Kendrys Morales that scored two runs to tie the game at 6-6. The ball hit off Sipp’s glove and then could not be fielded by Correa at shortstop.

 

Sipp struck out Mike Moustakas to end his day and in came Astros closer Luke Gregerson, who walked the first batter he faced, Drew Butera. It was Butera’s first ever playoff at-bat and he worked a ten pitch walk.

Alex Gordon followed with an RBI ground out to give the Royals a 7-6 lead. It was in the hole between first and second, but Jose Altuve made a nice diving play to at least get one out.

After Alex Rios, who started the inning with a single, walked, Alcides Escobar was called out on strikes to end the inning.

Hosmer added some insurance in the top of the ninth with a two-run home run.

Clinging to the one run lead, Royals manager Ned Yost went to closer Wade Davis for the six out save. He did not disappoint. Davis’ lone blemish was a leadoff single to Correa in the ninth. He struck out three over two scoreless innings.

 

The wild late innings came after both starters pitched well.

Lance McCullers of the Astros allowed a Perez two strike, two-run home run in the second. McCullers allowed two runs on two hits, two walks, and two hit batters over 6.1 innings. He struck out seven.

Royals starter Yordano Ventura during his spring training start on St. Patrick's Day 2014 (Jen Nevius).

Royals starter Yordano Ventura during his spring training start on St. Patrick’s Day 2014 (Jen Nevius).

Royals starter Yordano Ventura allowed single runs in the second and third to tie the game at 2-2. Carlos Gomez and Carlos Correa hit solo home runs.

The Astros took the lead against Ventura in the bottom of the fifth on a Correa double, after he walked Springer with two outs. Ventura allowed three runs on four hits, three walks, and a hit batter over five innings. He struck out eight.

 

*The day off on Tuesday is much needed for Perez, who took a foul ball off his jaw and seemed visibly affected by it. Then he was hit by a pitch on the elbow. That came after he was in a minor car accident on Sunday night.

**All of the above videos are from MLB.com.

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About Jen Nevius

I first became a KC Royals fan way back in 1995 when I attended my first Wilmington Blue Rocks game. I fell in love with minor league baseball then and began following the Royals as former Blue Rocks clawed their way to the big leagues. 3+ years ago I started covering the Royals for Aerys Sports, but since the site has been shut down, I am going out on my own.
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