Game 1 of the ALCS is set for Friday in Kansas City as the Royals take on the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Royals advance to this game after defeating the Houston Astros 7-2 Wednesday night in a win-or-go-home game five.
Kansas City pitcher Johnny Cueto shined, recording eight strikeouts while giving up just two hits. After allowing a two run homer by Luis Valbuena home run in the second, Cueto retired 19 consecutive batters in the win in front of the home fans.
“I thought the crowd got behind him,” said Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch. “He pitches with emotion. He rose to the occasion. This was his night.”
Cueto ended his night in the eighth inning with just 91 pitches thrown.
Like Cueto’s pitches, the rest of the team’s bats were working with four different players driving in runs including an Eric Hosmer RBI single, a Alex Rios two run double, a Ben Zobrist sacrifice fly to right, and a Kendrys Morales three run homer.
The other game that took place Wednesday was pretty good too…. actually really good. It was the Toronto-Texas match up in another loser go home game.
The Rangers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first thanks to a Prince Fielder grounder bringing in Delino DeShields. Then in the third, Texas caught another break with a Shin-Soo Choo solo home run.
In that same inning though, the Jays bounced back with a Jose Bautista RBI double sending home Ben Revere. Then in the sixth, Toronto tied it up with a Edwin Encarnacion solo homer.
It was in the seventh inning when things got really interesting.
Choo was up to bat with Rougned Odor on third base; after a ball by Royals pitcher Aaron Sanchez, catcher Russell Martin tossed the ball back to Sanchez while Choo raised his bat to stretch, hitting Choo’s bat. The ball rolled down the third base line, and that triggered Odor to run home. But as he did, home plate umpire called the play dead which sent Odor back to third.
After Rangers manager Jeff Banister argued the call, all the umpires met up and changed the ruling, sending Odor home. Then madness ensued with Blue Jays manager John Gibbons arguing the call and then Jays fans throwing trash onto the field.
“That’s who we are,” Banister said. “We continue to play aggressively, we keep our heads up, and we stay focused.”
After 18 minutes, everything got back under control after the Blue Jay video board and players begged for the fans to calm down.
Then in the bottom of the seventh, the Rangers became unglued as Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus committed three consecutive errors, the first time in postseason history that it has happened for a TEAM never mind a single player.
Then Josh Donaldson hit a short pop fly to second which landed just behind Odor scoring a run to make it 3-3.
Bautista followed with a three run homer, leading to the most emphatic bat flip of the season.
With the passionate crowd going ballistic, they then proceeded to throw trash on the field (again). This caused Encarnacion to try to calm down the crowd and Rangers pitcher Sam Dyson confronted him which cleared both benches. Dyson was not pleased with the Bautista bat flip.
“I told him Jose needs to calm that down,” Dyson said. “He’s doing stuff that kids do from whiffle ball games and backyard baseball and it shouldn’t be done.”
If the ALCS gives us anything like the what the ALDS provided, we are in for a real treat. First pitch from Kansas City is set for 8:07 on Friday night and can be seen on FOX.