The KC Royals jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first and cruised to a 14-2 victory in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. The Royals need just one more win to repeat as AL Champs.
Alcides Escobar swung at the first pitch (of course) and bunted for a base hit on the second knuckle ball from RA Dickey. Ben Zobrist jumped on the second pitch for a two-run home run.
After Lorenzo Cain walked, stole second base, and moved to third base on Eric Hosmer‘s single, LoCain scored on a passed ball. A Kendrys Morales ground out moved Hosmer to third base before Mike Moustakas drove in a run with a sac fly.
Alex Rios added a solo home run with one out in the second. With two out in the second, Dickey was pulled in favor of former Royal Liam Hendriks, who picked Esky off second base without throwing a pitch to end the threat.
Hendriks then pitched four scoreless innings of relief. He allowed just one hit, a single to Rios in the fourth, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base (on replay).
After Hendriks was pulled, the Royals offense jumped all over the trio of LaTroy Hawkins, Ryan Tepera, and Mark Lowe for nine runs on eight hits and three walks over 2.2 innings.
History was made in the top of the ninth when Blue Jays infielder Cliff Pennington came in to pitch. It was the first time in the history of baseball that a “true” position player pitched in the postseason. He entered with two on and two outs and pumped 91 mph to Paulo Orlando. Orlando, who entered as a pinch runner in the seventh, singled to load the bases on the third pitch thrown by Pennington.
Orlando went 2-for-2 with two runs scored.
Esky followed with a first pitch RBI single for his second hit and fourth RBI of the game. It also ended the game’s scoring.
Meanwhile, Royals starter Chris Young battled through 4.2 innings. He allowed two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out four.
The Blue Jays first hit came in the third off the bat of nine-hole hitter Ryan Goins. Josh Donaldson drove in the first run with a ground-rule double. Jose Bautista followed with an RBI ground out. That was it.
The Royals bullpen then held them to four hits over the final 4.1 innings. They combined for four strikeouts. Two of those strikeouts came from Ryan Madson, who also made a barehanded play up the middle to get the lead runner at second base in the seventh.
Game 5 will be played on Wednesday afternoon up in Toronto, with the rematch between the Game 1 starters, Edinson Volquez for the Royals against Marco Estrada of the Blue Jays.
*The above videos are via MLB.com.
**LoCain extended his hitting streak to 13 games in the postseason with an RBI single in the seventh. He added a two-run single in the eighth.