2015 American League Championship Series

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2015 American League Championship Series
Kansas City Royals logo
2015 American League Championship Series logo
Toronto Blue Jays logo
Kansas City Royals
95 - 67 in the AL
4 - 2
Series Summary
Toronto Blue Jays
93 - 69 in the AL

Overview[edit]

The 2015 American League Championship Series was a rematch, 30 years later, of one of the all-time classic ALCS, the 1985 series that pitted the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays and lasted until a seventh and decisive game. The same two teams were at it again, coming into the series with the two best records in the American League, finishing within two games of one another, but both having come close to elimination in the Division Series: the Blue Jays had lost the first two games at home before coming back, and the Royals were down by four runs and six outs away from elimination in Game 4 before turning things around in their series.

The Teams[edit]

Blue Jays

Royals

Umpires[edit]

Jim Reynolds was the replay umpire for the first two games, then switched roles with Randazzo.

Series results[edit]

Game Score Date Pitchers Time (ET)
1 Toronto Blue Jays 0 Kansas City Royals 5 October 16 Marco Estrada (0-1) Edinson Volquez (1-0) 7:30 pm
2 Toronto Blue Jays 3 Kansas City Royals 6 October 17 David Price (0-1) Yordano Ventura (0-0) 4:00 pm
3 Kansas City Royals 8 Toronto Blue Jays 11 October 19 Johnny Cueto (0-1) Marcus Stroman (1-0) 7:00 pm
4 Kansas City Royals 14 Toronto Blue Jays 2 October 20 Chris Young (0-0) R.A. Dickey (0-1) 4:00 pm
5 Kansas City Royals 1 Toronto Blue Jays 7 October 21 Edinson Volquez (1-1) Marco Estrada (1-1) 4:00 pm
6 Toronto Blue Jays 3 Kansas City Royals 4 October 23 David Price (0-1) Yordano Ventura (0-0) 8:00 pm


Results[edit]

Game 1 @ Kauffman Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Blue Jays 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
Royals 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 2 x 5 8 1
WP: Edinson Volquez (1-0), LP: Marco Estrada (0-1)
Home Runs: KC - Salvador Perez (1)
  • Attendance: 39,753

The Royals did the unthinkable in Game 1: they shut out the Blue Jays. That had only happened five times during the season, and only four times had they been held without an extra-base hit, as happened tonight. The main reason behind this stunning result was starting pitcher Edinson Volquez, who had one of his best career outings and completely shut down the Jays' vaunted offense over six innings before turning things over to the bullpen. His opponent, Marco Estrada, usually stingy with runs, allowed three in the first four innings and the Blue Jays were unable to respond.

The Royals threatened in the 1st inning, as Alcides Escobar led off with a double off Estrada. However, after one out, Lorenzo Cain hit a comebacker to the mound and Estrada trapped Escobar between second and third, but by the time he was tagged out, Cain had made it to second base. Eric Hosmer was up next, but he grounded out to end the threat. After an uneventful 2nd inning, Alex Gordon led off the 3rd for the Royals with a double and scored when Escobar doubled as well two outs later. Escobar went to third on a ground out and then scored when Cain singled to right. In the 4th, Salvador Perez homered to center with two outs, and it was 3-0 for Kansas City.

Normally, a three-run lead against the Blue Jays would be far from safe, but Volquez was pitching beautifully, just giving up a handful of singles and walks. The only time he was in serious trouble was in the 6th, when both Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista worked walks off him after a long battle. However, with two on and none out, Volquez reached back for his best stuff, and he struck out Edwin Encarnacion, got Chris Colabello to line out to left, and struck out Troy Tulowitzki to keep Toronto off the scoreboard and end his night's work. Kelvin Herrera replaced him in the 7th and he got the Jays in order, then the tag team continued in the 8th with Ryan Madson. His inning was a bit more laborious, as Donaldson singled with one out and Bautista drew a walk. Encarnacion was due up, but he had to leave the game because of a ligament problem in a finger, a worrisome injury for the Jays. Justin Smoak pinch-hit for the big slugger, and he popped out to first for the second out. Colabello then grounded to second, and that was the inning.

The Royals put the game definitely away with a pair of runs in the bottom of the 8th. LaTroy Hawkins was on the mound, and he hit Escobar with a pitch before allowing a single to Ben Zobrist. Cain flied out for the first out, but Hosmer followed with a double that scored a run and Kendrys Morales hit a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 5-0. With that big a lead, Ned Yost let Wade Davis sit down in the bullpen and instead asked Luke Hochevar to close out the game. He got Tulowitzki on a ground out but 3B Mike Moustakas could not field Dioner Navarro's grounder, resulting in an error. Navarro was forced out at second by Kevin Pillar for the second out, though, then Ryan Goins flied out to Gordon in left field for the final out.

Game 2 @ Kauffman Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Blue Jays 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 10 0
Royals 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1 x 6 8 0
WP: Danny Duffy (1-0), LP: David Price (0-1), SV: Wade Davis (1)
Home Runs: none
  • Attendance: 40,357

The Royals stunned the Blue Jays with a five-run 7th inning to defeat the Blue Jays, 6-3, in Game 2. Until then, the story of the game had been David Price, who had retired 18 straight batters after allowing a single to Alcides Escobar on his first pitch of the game. He seemed set to break a skein that had seen him go winless in six starts as a postseason starter, but the Royals' comeback meant that his unexplainable failure to win a start in the postseason continued. For Kansas City, Yordano Ventura started the game and pitched well until running into trouble in the 6th, taking like Price advantage of poor visibility conditions early in the game due to the mid-afternoon start.

Both pitchers were dealing in the early going. The Blue Jays finally broke through in the 3rd when Kevin Pillar led off with a double to right, and Ryan Goins followed by pulling a ball down the third base line, just out of the reach of 3B Mike Moustakas, for another double. However, Ben Revere was unable to bunt him over to third and he was left stranded. In the 6th, the Blue Jays came close to breaking the game open. Josh Donaldson led off the inning by beating out a single to shortstop, after being given a second life when his pop-up behind the place hit a wire that held the backstop screen, negating C Salvador Perez's catch. Jose Bautista then drew a walk and Edwin Encarnacion followed with a single to left to drive in Donaldson. Ventura struck out Chris Colabello for the first out but Troy Tulowitzki drove a ball to the right field corner for a double. Bautista scored, but Encarnacion hesitated for a moment, thinking that RF Alex Rios had a chance to make the catch, and had to stop on third base. Russell Martin then drew a walk that loaded the bases, prompting Ned Yost to remove Ventura and replace him with Luke Hochevar. The former first overall pick got out of the jam by getting Pillar on a pop-up to second and Goins on a ground ball. The Blue Jays were up 3-0, but had wasted a chance to add a lot more.

Price completed the inning by striking out the side, running his string of consecutive outs to 18 and things looked bad for the Royals. Danny Duffy came on in the 7th and retired the Blue Jays in order, but, out of nowhere, everything fell apart for Toronto in the bottom of the 7th. The rally started innocently enough when Ben Zobrist hit a pop-up to short right field; Goins waved away Bautista, but then failed to catch the ball which fell in for a hit. Lorenzo Cain followed with another single, as did Eric Hosmer, leading to a first run. Kendrys Morales was out on a ground ball, but it scored Cain from third base to cut the lead to 3-2. Moustakas was next up, and he singled to right. Hosmer scored from second, and on Bautista's throw, Moustakas went to second. Price struck out Salvador Perez for the second out, but Alex Gordon doubled and the Royals were in front, 4-3. At this point, John Gibbons replaced Price with Aaron Sanchez, but the nightmare continued for Toronto. Rios singled, and Gordon came home for a 5-3 lead before Escobar grounded out for the final out. Like they had done against the Houston Astros in the 8th inning of Game 4 of the Division Series, the Royals had snatched victory from thin air.

The Royals' vaunted bullpen continued its work as Kelvin Herrera retired the Jays in the 8th in spite of a one-out double by Colabello. In the bottom of the inning, Cain drew a one-out walk against Sanchez, leading Gibbons to call on Aaron Loup. Cain was caught stealing second, but Hosmer and Morales both drew a walk. Moustakas was up next, and he singled to right to make it 6-3. The demoralized Blue Jays now had to face Wade Davis in the 9th. Pillar led off with a single and Cliff Pennington, pinch-hitting for Goins, drew a walk. The budding rally fizzled however as Davis struck out Revere and Donaldson before Bautista flied out to right to end the game.

Game 3 @ Rogers Centre[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Royals 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 4 8 15 0
Blue Jays 0 3 6 0 1 0 0 1 x 11 11 0
WP: Marcus Stroman (1-0), LP: Johnny Cueto (0-1)
Home Runs: TOR - Troy Tulowitzki (1), Josh Donaldson (1), Ryan Goins (1); KC - Kendrys Morales (1)
  • Attendance: 49,751

History buffs will recall that the Blue Jays' last World Series title had come in the middle of a Canadian election campaign that had seen the Liberal party unseat the Conservatives in 1993; it was election night in Canada for Game 3, and, lo and behold, the Liberals unseated a Conservative government. More importantly for Toronto fans, with the series moving to the hitter-friendly environment of the Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays were able to do what they do best: score a bunch of runs early and put the game away by the middle innings. On the mound, both Johnny Cueto and Marcus Stroman were coming off key wins in Game 5 of their respective Division Series, but on this night, Cueto was unable to keep the ball down and felt the full fury of Toronto's bats unleashed upon him.

It was the Royals who took the early lead, however, as Alcides Escobar, once again, did damage out of the lead-off spot, hitting a ball out of the reach of RF Jose Bautista for a triple. Ben Zobrist followed with a ground ball to second, and it was immediately 1-0 in favor of Kansas City. Stroman was not particularly sharp in the early going, allowing a number of well-hit balls, and in the 2nd, he escaped trouble after giving a lead-off single to Kendrys Morales and then a two-out hit to Alex Gordon. The Blue Jays then erupted in the bottom of the inning. After one out, Troy Tulowitzki singled and Russell Martin was hit by a pitch. Kevin Pillar next forced Martin with a grounder to short, but with two outs, the Royals failed to hold him at first base and he stole second. Thus, when Ryan Goins followed with a single to left, both he and Tulowitzki scored for a 2-1 lead, while Goins took second on the throw. Ben Revere drew a walk and Josh Donaldson singled as well, scoring Goins to increase the lead to 3-1.

The Royals cut the lead in the top of the 3rd when Zobrist hit a one-out double and went to third on an infield single by Lorenzo Cain. Eric Hosmer then hit a ball to his opposite number, 1B Chris Colabello, but the Blue Jays were unable to turn two, erasing Cain but allowing Zobrist to score. Next up was Morales, who singled to center, but Mike Moustakas popped up for the final out. Up to now, the game was very even, but Toronto would proceed to break it open in the bottom of the 3rd. Edwin Encarnacion led off with a single, followed by a walk to Colabello. Tulowitzki then launched a ball beyond the center field wall for a three-run homer, and the Blue Jays were just getting started. Martin walked and scored on a double by Pillar that sent Cueto to the showers. Kris Medlen came into the ballgame and struck out Goins for the first out and got Revere on a grounder, but Donaldson followed with another homer, this one good for two runs, and it was now 9-2, Blue Jays.

Given a comfortable lead, Stroman settled down, getting the Royals in order in the 4th. However, the Royals stirred in the 5th. Escobar again started things off with a single and moved to third on a double by Zobrist. Cain lined out to Bautista for the first out, but Stroman then threw a wild pitch. Hosmer was out on strikes but Morales walked and a single by Moustakas cut the lead to 9-4. The Jays got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, however, reaching double figures in runs on a solo homer by Goins off Medlen. Things stayed that way until the 8th. Stroman left midway through the 7th, replaced by Aaron Sanchez after having done enough to earn credit for the win, while Medlen was still pitching for the Royals. Tulowitzki was tossed from the game at the end of the 7th for arguing a third strike call and Mark Lowe pitched a perfect 8th inning. In the bottom of the 8th, Toronto made it 11-4 when, facing Franklin Morales, Bautista drove in Revere with a single. Liam Hendriks was asked to close out the game, but he was again burned by Escobar and Zobrist, who hit a single and double respectively; Cain hit a sacrifice fly and Hosmer a single, to make it 11-6 and prompt John Gibbons to bring in closer Roberto Osuna, who immediately coughed up a gopher ball to Morales that made the final score 11-8. Those four runs may not have meant much in the greater scheme of things, as the game was already lost for Kansas City, but the Royals went out on a high, and for the first time, the Jays' young closer had sputtered, as Morales' long ball was the first baserunner he had allowed in five postseason appearances.

Game 4 @ Rogers Centre[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Royals 4 1 0 0 0 0 4 3 2 14 15 0
Blue Jays 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 0
WP: Luke Hochevar (1-0), LP: R.A. Dickey (0-1)
Home Runs: KC - Ben Zobrist (1), Alex Rios (1)
  • Attendance: 49,501

Game 4 featured a match-up of veterans whose careers and lives were worthy of a full novel. 40-year-old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey took the mound for the Jays, while 6' 10" Chris Young, a relative youngster at 36, was designated to start for Kansas City. Unfortunately for the Jays, Dickey had his worst start ever for the team, failing to make it out of the 2nd inning and putting them in a deep hole. The Royals collected 15 hits for the second straight game and things eventually got so bad that John Gibbons had to use a position player, Cliff Pennington, to pitch the last inning, a first in major league postseason history.

The Royals jumped on Dickey from the start. On the second pitch of the game, Alcides Escobar, dropped a bunt down the third base line. Josh Donaldson attempted to play the ball instead of seeing if it would bounce into foul territory, but he could not get the ball cleanly out of his glove and Escobar was safe at first with a single. Two pitches later, Ben Zobrist crushed a ball deep into the right field stands, and it was already 2-0. Lorenzo Cain followed by drawing a walk, then stole second. Eric Hosmer singled to center, putting runners on the corners, and C Russell Martin let a knuckler get past him for a passed ball. The Jays almost managed to tag out Cain at home, but a video review confirmed the run. Kendrys Morales finally made the first out with a grounder to second, but Hosmer moved to third, and he scored on Mike Moustakas' fly ball to deep center. Young then came out and struck out the side around a walk and stolen base by Donaldson, and after one inning, it was 4-0, Kansas City. Trouble continued for Dickey in the 2nd as Alex Rios homered to center after one out. Dickey then hit Escobar with a pitch that deflected off his left wrist, and after a ground out, Cain drew another walk. That spelled the end of Dickey's day, his shortest outing in a Blue Jays uniform. Liam Hendriks replaced him, and before making his first pitch, he picked Escobar off second base for the third out.

The game was still young and the Blue Jays could still come back. However, Young retired the Jays in order in the bottom of the 2nd, with Martin hitting a deep fly just shy of the right field wall for the last out, and things were looking awful bleak for Toronto. Hendriks did give them a lift with a one-two-three inning in the 3rd, and they got to Young in the bottom of the inning when, with one out, Ryan Goins singled and Ben Revere drew a walk. Donaldson followed with a bounce double good for a run, and Jose Bautista drove in Revere with a ground out, cutting the lead to 5-2. Hendriks added two more scoreless innings, but after Revere hit a two-out single in the bottom of the 5th, Ned Yost took no chances, pulling Young in favor of Luke Hochevar, preferring to have his bullpen make a long outing rather than trust his fourth starter to go any longer. Hochevar, who had gotten out of a tricky situation in Game 2 to make Kansas City's comeback possible, got Donaldson to pop out for the third out. Hendriks added another perfect inning in the 6th, and while the Blue Jays were not making any progress in tightening the score, it was time for Kansas City to give itself a bigger cushion.

Hendricks had given up only one hit and no runs in 4 1/3 innings in relief of Dickey, but he couldn't go any longer. LaTroy Hawkins, the only player older than Dickey, got the call in the 7th. He immediately got in trouble by walking Salvador Perez and allowing singles to Alex Gordon and Rios to load the bases. Gibbons called on rookie Ryan Tepera to extricate the Jays from that situation, but he was no Harry Houdini. Escobar hit a sacrifice fly, then a wild pitch scored Gordon and after a walk to Zobrist, Cain singled for a third run and Hosmer hit another sacrifice fly. The score was now 9-2, and the game was for all intents and purposes lost for Toronto. Ryan Madson did come out for the bottom of the 7th. The Royals continued to pile on in the 8th, as Tepera allowed a one-out double to Perez, Gordon walked, and Paulo Orlando, who had run for Rios the previous inning, singled to load the bases. Escobar hit another sacrifice fly, Zobrist singled to reload the bases and Cain singled in two more runs to make the score 12-2. Mark Lowe had to come in to get the final out. In spite of the insurmountable lead, Kelvin Herrera pitched the 8th for Kansas City, but, for his part, Gibbons did not want to use one of his primary relievers in a lost cause. Back-up infielder Pennington, who had never pitched previously in a professional game, came to the mound. He allowed a couple more runs before Franklin Morales pitched the bottom of the 9th, the game finishing as a 14-2 romp by the Royals.

Game 5 @ Rogers Centre[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Royals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 4 0
Blue Jays 0 1 0 0 0 4 1 1 x 7 8 0
WP: Marco Estrada (1-1), LP: Edinson Volquez (1-1)
Home Runs: TOR - Chris Colabello (1); KC - Salvador Perez (2)
  • Attendance: 49,325

As had been the case in Game 3 of the ALDS, in Game 5, Marco Estrada was given a start for the Blue Jays with no margin of maneuver: it was win or go home. Facing him was Edinson Volquez, coming off a superlative performance in Game 1. For the first five innings, the game was a great pitchers' duel, until the Blue jays broke through in the 6th.

Both pitchers were at their best in the early going, apart for Volquez leaving one change-up hanging against Chris Colabello with one out in the 2nd; the Blue Jays' first baseman drove it into the stands in left centerfield for a 1-0 lead. But that was the only noise made by the hitters for a long time. Dioner Navarro drew a two-out walk for the Jays in the same inning and was left stranded, while Alcides Escobar led off the 4th with a single for Kansas City, only to be immediately erased when Ben Zobrist grounded into a double play. Jose Bautista led off the bottom of the 4th with an infield single, but he was forced out by Edwin Encarnacion and Colabello then grounded into a double play. Kevin Pillar hit a two-out single in the 5th, but he was left stranded. Volquez was mowing down hitters with 96 mph heat on the corners, while Estrada was completely fooling the Royals with an outstanding change-up.

Estrada had another perfect inning in the 6th, before Volquez lost his control in the bottom of the inning. Ben Revere drew a lead-off walk and Josh Donaldson was hit by a pitch. Bautista also drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Encarnacion walked in turn to force in a run and Ned Yost brought in Kelvin Herrera. It's not as if Volquez was throwing the ball all over the place: the walks all came on full counts, with the Blue Jays fouling tough pitches to remain alive, and a number of the ball calls were really borderline, in particular the ball four call to Bautista. Herrera struck out Colabello for the first out, but Troy Tulowitzki followed with a double to deep center that cleared the bases and increased the Blue Jays' lead to 5-0. After the Royals went down again with only a walk in the 7th, Toronto added another run in the bottom of the inning when Donaldson and Bautista hit back-to-back two-out doubles against Danny Duffy.

Marco Estrada entered the 8th inning with a one-hit shutout. John Gibbons had asked David Price to be ready to pitch in this game if needed, but that option had been rendered superfluous. Estrada struck out Kendrys Morales and retired Mike Moustakas on a line drive before he finally made a mistake, allowing a home run to Salvador Perez and then a single to Alex Gordon. His night was over, but his brilliant performance had extended the series. Aaron Sanchez came in; he gave up a single to Alex Rios to put a second man on base, but then retired Escobar on a line out to end the inning. The Blue Jays then added a 7th run as Tulowitzki singled and Pillar doubled him in with two outs but was thrown out trying for a triple. Roberto Osuna was called to pitch the 9th and retired the Royals in order to send the two teams back to Kansas City.

Game 6 @ Kauffman Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Blue Jays 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 7 0
Royals 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 x 4 9 0
WP: Wade Davis (1-0), LP: Roberto Osuna (0-1)
Home Runs: KC - Ben Zobrist (2), Mike Moustakas (1); TOR - Jose Bautista 2 (2)
  • Attendance: 40,494

Game 6 in Kansas City turned out to be a nailbiter that had a bit of everything: a pitchers' duel, a home run derby, some heroics by a local fan, a weather event, and a track meet. In the end, it was the Blue Jays' inability to get a hit with men in scoring position that doomed them to defeat, and that sent the Royals back to the World Series for the second straight year. Yordano Ventura was starting for the Royals and David Price for the Blue Jays. The latter came with some controversy, as he had warmed up during his team's no-tomorrow win in Game 5, and of course he still sported his unenviable record of 7 losses in 7 postseason starts.

Ventura came out firing, even though Ben Revere touched him for a lead-off double in the 1st; he got the next three outs, then got the Blue Jays in order on the 2nd and 3rd. For his part, Price did not start so hot, as after getting Alcides Escobar for the first out in the 1st, he surrendered a home run to Ben Zobrist on a change-up that had no bite. Then in the 2nd, he gave up another homer, to Mike Moustakas, also after one out. That homer required an assist by a 19-year-old Kansas City fan, sitting in the first row of seats over the right field wall at Kauffman Stadium; he appeared to reach with his glove over the playing field to snatch the ball, Jeffrey Maier-like, turning an possible double into a homer. The play was reviewed at MLB Headquarters, but the ruling was that there was not sufficient evidence to overturn the original home run call. As Andy Warhol had predicted, the assisting fan received his 15 minutes of fame, explaining that he had only let his glove above the top of the wall to make his memorable catch, and certainly not over the field of play as some might wrongly surmise... In any case, the Royals were up, 2-0, and just about every ball they had hit up to that point against Price had been on the nose. But the veteran lefthander settled down after that, ditched the change-up in favor of the curve, and found his groove. He allowed nothing more of consequence until the 7th, striking out 8 opponents along the way.

Ventura was touched by the hand of Jose Bautista in the 4th inning, as the Jays' slugger drove a pitch to the deepest reaches of the left-centerfield seats; there was no need for fan assistance or a video review on that long ball, but it was a rare blip as the youngster was having a great night. The Blue Jays did mount a threat in the 5th, when Russell Martin and Kevin Pillar led off with back-to-back walks, but Ryan Goins was unable to lay down a bunt, flying out to shallow center, and Revere also popped out to the outfield. Josh Donaldson was up next and crushed a pitch to the left side, but right at 3B Moustakas who caught the line drive for the final out. In the bottom of the 5th, Alex Rios, who had reached on a single, became the first (and only) man to successfully steal a base against Price this year as he ran on his first move and swiped second. He was left stranded however.

At this point, the tension was rising steadily, with every batter being critical. In the 6th, Edwin Encarnacion drove a ball to the left-center wall with one out for a double. Ned Yost decided to call on his bullpen, summoning the fireballing Kelvin Herrera. The Jays were once again unable to cash in a runner in scoring position, as Chris Colabello struck out and Troy Tulowitzki flied out. Herrera also got the Blue Jays in order in the 7th, and the Royals then added a run that, under the conditions, seemed to give them an insurmountable lead. Moustakas led off with a broken bat single to center, then Salvador Perez drove a ball to the wall in left field. LF Revere saved a run with a tremendous leaping catch against the chain link fence demarcating the bullpen from the field, then relayed to Tulowitzki who came within inches of doubling Moustakas off first base. Alex Gordon was next up, and he hit a very hard grounder to second, but 2B Goins made an excellent diving stop and threw him out. Price was obviously tiring, so manager Ned Yost called on Aaron Sanchez to come out. With Moustakas now on second, Sanchez got a two-strike count on Alex Rios, but the right fielder managed to drop the next pitch into center field for 3-1 lead. Paulo Orlando ran for Rios and Escobar followed with a single, but Sanchez got Zobrist on a ground out to first for the final out, limiting the damage.

There was some thought that the well-rested Wade Davis would come out to get the final six outs, but instead Yost called on Ryan Madson to pitch the 8th. Given a bit of breathing room, the Blue Jays pounced. Ben Revere hit an infield single to shortstop, then after a strikeout by Donaldson, Bautista turned on a Madson fastball, driving it into the left field stands for two-run homer. Suddenly the game was tied and when Edwin Encarnacion followed by drawing a walk, Yost turned to Davis. He struck out Colabello, but then threw a wild pitch that advanced Encarnacion to second. But for a fourth time, with a runner on second base, the Jays were unable to capitalize as Tulowitzki struck out to end the inning as rain began to fall, as had been predicted an hour earlier. The umpires decided to stop the game, as meteorologists indicated that the shower would only last 40 or so minutes.

The weathermen's prediction turned out to be spot on, and the game resumed after a 45-minute delay. For the Jays, it meant that Sanchez was out of the game, and in came Roberto Osuna. He wasn't sharp, as he walked Lorenzo Cain on a full count, then Eric Hosmer followed with a single to right. Cain took off at full speed and never slowed down as third base coach Mike Jirschele sent him home without hesitating. Cain arrived well before the throw, as RF Bautista had been caught off guard and had lobbed his throw to second, to prevent Hosmer from taking that base, not thinking that Cain would attempt to score. But his mad dash was successful for the second time of the postseason - he had also pulled the trick in the Division Series - and the Royals were up, 4-3, and threatening more. Kendrys Morales followed with a single - Hosmer stopping at second - and was replaced by pinch-runner Terrance Gore. Osuna extricated himself from the jam by getting Moustakas to fly to shallow right and Salvador Perez to ground into a double play that required more sharp fielding.

The situation was now critical for Toronto, as Russell Martin, hitless for the series, stepped to the plate against Davis, whom Yost had decided to leave in the game to start the 9th in spite of the long break. Martin managed to drop a single into center field and gave way to pinch-runner Dalton Pompey. He took off on the first pitch by Davis and stole second, then a couple of pitches later stole third as Kevin Pillar drew a walk. Trouble was now brewing, and Luke Hochevar was up in the Royals' bullpen. Gibbons sent Dioner Navarro to pinch-hit for Goins, and while he struck out, Pillar in turn stole second base on the third strike. Revere was up next and he struck out swinging on a nasty curveball after Davis got a generous strike two call form unmpire Jeff Nelson on a pitch that appeared to be at Revere's eye level. Josh Donaldson was Toronto's final hope, but he hit another ball sharply at Moustakas, this one a grounder, and was easily thrown out at first to end the game as yet again, the Jays were unable to drive in runners in scoring position. Alcides Escobar was named the series' MVP on account of his being constantly on base from the lead-off spot and scoring a number of key runs for Kansas City.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Paul Casella: "Who has the ALCS advantage, position-by-position?", mlb.com, October 15, 2015. [1]

Related Sites[edit]

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