Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer dives to force out Baltimore Orioles’ Nelson Cruz (23) at first as the Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie watches during the second inning of Game 3 of the American League baseball championship series Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum )
The Kansas City Royals continue their magical playoff run, beating the Baltimore Orioles, 2-1, in Game Three of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) on Oct. 14 at Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals now hold a commanding 3-0 lead over the Orioles in the best-of-seven series.
Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy (2) waits to tag out Kansas City Royals’ Alcides Escobar (2) at second during the fifth inning of Game 3 of the American League baseball championship series Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Baltimore simply couldn’t produce any offense against the stingy Royals’ pitching and airtight fielding. After taking a 1-0 lead in the secondinning, the O’s were shut out the rest of the way as K.C. made play after play defensively against the Birds. Baltimore scored their lone run of the game after first baseman Steve Pearce hit a double line drive, followed shortly by a double on a fly ball to center field by shortstop J.J. Hardy, sending Pearce in for the 1-0 leading score.
But Royals’ outfielder Lorenzo Cain, who has been the brightest star of this series, singled to get on base in the fourth inning and tied the game on a run scored after fellow K.C. outfielder Alex Gordon hit a sacrifice ground ball to get Cain home.
K.C.’s bullpen then took full control of the game, retiring 16 straight Orioles’ batters to close the game; and it only took one more run from the Royals to claim the win. The Royals got their game-deciding run in the bottom of the sixth inning after right fielder Nori Aoki singled to get on base and speedster Jarrod Dyson subbed in to run bases for Aoki. K.C. first baseman Erik Hosmer then nailed a ground single, giving Dyson the opportunity to zoom around to third base with only one out. Designated hitter Billy Butler then followed up with a sacrifice fly to send Dyson home to give the Royals the 2-1 lead.
Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen throws during the first inning of Game 3 of the American League baseball championship series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
K.C. then went to their “big trio” of closing pitchers, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, who pitched the seventh, eighth and ninth inning, respectively, allowing not a single hit to secure the back-breaking victory over the Orioles.
The Baltimore loss came despite excellent pitching from starter Wei-Yin Chen, who gave up just seven hits and two runs while lasting into the sixth inning. Orioles relief pitcher Kevin Gausman was even better, allowing no hits or runs through nearly three full innings on the mound. But their fantastic pitching was wasted as Baltimore struggled to produce hits down the stretch.
Kansas City has now won all seven of its games played during this postseason and is just one game away from clinching its first appearance in the MLB World Series since 1985.
The odds are now stacked tremendously high against the Orioles. Only one team in the history of American League baseball has come back to win a best-of-seven series after trailing, 3-0. The Boston Red Sox made that history 10 years ago when they came back from being down three wins to none to beat the New York Yankees, 4-3, during the 2004 ALCS. They then went on to sweep St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0, in the World Series.
Game Four of the 2014 ALCS is scheduled for Oct. 15 in K.C. Start time is 4:07 p.m. EST.