Royals beat Orioles for 2-0 lead in ALCS
BALTIMORE — Following another successful road show, the Royals are heading back to Kansas City with momentum and history on their side in the AL Championship Series.
Alcides Escobar doubled in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, Mike Moustakas extended his home run-binge and the Royals remained perfect in the playoffs, beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-4 Saturday for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven matchup.
Lorenzo Cain had four hits, scored twice and drove in a run for the wild-card Royals, who are 6-0 in the playoffs this year, including 4-0 on the road. Kansas City was 47-34 in away games during the regular season.
Moustakas homered for the fourth time in five games as the Royals won their ninth straight in the postseason, a string dating way back to the 1985 World Series.
Game 3 is Monday at Kauffman Stadium. Former Ashland High standout and Oriole Jeremy Guthrie will start for the Royals against either Wei-Yin Chen or Miguel Gonzalez.
Manager Buck Showalter’s team has lost two in a row at Camden Yards for the first time since June 28-29, and now the Orioles must buck history to earn its first pennant since 1983. No club has ever won a best-of-seven LCS after dropping the first two games at home.
After squeezing out an 8-6 win in 10 innings on Friday night, the Royals again took apart the Baltimore bullpen with a late uprising.
With the score tied at 4 in the ninth, Omar Infante beat out an infield roller off Darren O’Day, the losing pitching for the second straight day.
Zach Britton entered, and Moustakas laid down a bunt that moved pinch-runner Terrance Gore to second. Alcides then sliced an opposite-field grounder inside first base to bring home Gore.
Two batters later, Cain hit an RBI single.
For the second time in two games, Wade Davis earned the win and Greg Holland got three outs for the save. Holland struck out Steve Pearce with a runner on to end it.
Moustakas, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, hit a solo homer that put Kansas City up 4-3 in the fourth. Although he homered only once in the last 49 games of the regular season, Moustakas now stands tied with Willie Aikens for most homers by a Royals player in a single postseason.
Neither starter figured in the decision.
Baltimore’s Bud Norris allowed four runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings. Royals rookie Yordano Ventura left in the sixth with tightness in his right shoulder after giving up four runs and six hits.
Kansas City used three straight hits, the last a two-run bloop single by Eric Hosmer, to go up 2-0 in the first inning.
In the second, three walks and a sacrifice fly by Caleb Joseph netted Baltimore a run without benefit of a hit.
The Royals made it 3-1 in the third on an RBI double by Billy Butler, but Game 1 star Alex Gordon looked at a third strike with two outs and two runners in scoring position.
For the day, Gordon struck out four times and stranded four runners in scoring position.
The Orioles tied it in their half if the third when Adam Jones hit his first career postseason homer after Alejando De Aza doubled.
Nelson Cruz had an RBI grounder in the Baltimore fifth that made it 5-all.
Baltimore loaded the bases with one out in the seventh before Pearce hit a short fly to left and J.J. Hardy flied out.
Royals: Guthrie says his emotion Monday will come from competing in the playoffs, not pitching against his former team. “I think history will be put, not even on a back burner, but on some kind of ... Lazy Susan or something,” said Guthrie, who’s 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA in four starts against Baltimore since being traded in February 2012.
Orioles: Baltimore went 46-35 on the road this season and clinched the Division Series with a 2-1 win at Detroit.