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The Kansas City Royals took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the 2014 ALCS with a 2-1 win in Game 3 on Oct. 14.
The Kansas City Royals are just one win away from their first World Series berth in 29 years.
“Mike Moustakas tumbling into a group of fans to make a spectacular catch, causing the Blue Zoo to erupt in sonic-boom roar. What could be more typically spectacular for this unexpectedly unbridled Royals team?
“Using the defense of Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, and Eric Hosmer, their rock-solid bullpen and just enough offense, the Kansas City upstarts stung the Baltimore Orioles, 2-1, on Tuesday night to come within one victory of the World Series.
“The Royals have a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series and can clinch a third trip to the Fall Classic with a victory on Wednesday. They also went in 1980 and 1985.
“‘We’re almost there, man,’ said Jarrod Dyson, who scored the winning run. ‘We’re almost at the Promised Land, but we’ve still got to go out tomorrow and play like it’s our last.’
“History is on their side. There have been 33 previous best-of-seven postseason series in which a team had a 3-0 lead and only once did it evaporate. Of those, 27 ended in a sweep. Three went to a fifth game and two to a sixth game. The only time a 3-0 series lead reached a Game 7 was in 2004 when the Red Sox won the last four games to stun the (New York) Yankees.
“After Jeremy Guthrie pitched the first five innings, the Royals’ bullpen of Jason Frasor, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined for four perfect innings to wrap it up.
“‘You’re up 3-0 and you’re at home. We couldn’t ask for a better scenario,’ said Billy Butler, who drove Dyson home with a sacrifice fly.
“Nori Aoki got the Royals started toward snapping a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning against left-hander Wei-Yin Chen with a single to left field. Dyson pinch ran for Aoki, stayed put as Cain struck out, but took third on Hosmer’s single to right.
“That prompted the Orioles to pull Chen for right-hander Kevin Gausman.
“The first thing that Gausman tried was to pick off Dyson. The old fake-to-third-and-throw-to-first trick was outlawed this year. But Gausman did the reverse. He stepped off, faked to first and then fired to third baseman Ryan Flaherty. Dyson barely got back.
“‘They tried to get me right there, hoping I’d go down the line. He tried to come over and knock me off the bag a little bit, but I did a great job by keeping my hand on the bag. Billy did a great job getting me in,’ Dyson said.
“Once that failed, Gausman turned his attention to Butler.
“‘I’m trying to definitely get a hit, but you’ve got (to) get underneath the ball,’ Butler said. ‘Gausman comes in throwing a really hard sinker, so you’ve really got to get underneath it. So I got the job done there and I know with Dyson on third, it doesn’t have to be tremendously deep, either.’
“Left fielder Alejandro De Aza had not shot at throwing out Dyson, who scored with ease.”
MLB.com’s Phil Rogers is amazed at the postseason juggernaut known as the 2014 Kansas City Royals:
“Not that they need any more adjectives, but here are a couple more for the Royals.
“Rust-proof — regarding 35-year-old Jeremy Guthrie and the non-James Shields and Yordano Ventura portion of the starting rotation.
“And Jeterian (or, if you prefer, Jeter-iffic) — regarding the remarkable Mike Moustakas and the blue-clad fans who moved aside to let the third baseman clear a railing and grab a foul ball hit by Adam Jones, a la Derek Jeter’s famous dive into the stands against the (Boston) Red Sox on July 1, 2004.
“In other words, it remains business as usual for the Little Blue Machine from Kansas City, which is steaming toward the World Series, and, who knows, possibly even a place as the greatest October team ever.
“At this point it appears the only way they can be beaten is for Paul Konerko to be honored in a 40-minute ceremony before the start of the game. They have won 10 of their last 11 games, the only exception being Konerko Night in Chicago, and in fairness that loss to the White Sox came on the heels of their Wild Card-clinching celebration. A few of the fellows might still have had that Archie Eversole classic, ‘We Ready,’ ringing in their ears.
“Since then, nothing stops the Royals. Not (Oakland) A’s ace Jon Lester, not (Los Angeles) Angels superstar Mike Trout. Not the Orioles team that just knocked off the (Detroit) Tigers and three straight Cy Young winners.
“The 2-1 victory over the Orioles on Tuesday night moved the Royals within one game of an American League Championship Series sweep and raised their postseason record to 7-0, equaling the best start to an October run in Major League history. That record was good enough to wrap up the best-of-five National League Championship Series and World Series for the 1976 (Cincinnati) Reds, but in 2007 only got the (Colorado) Rockies to the World Series, where they were swept by the Red Sox.
“With the Wild Card game added in 2012, the Royals can dream about a 12-0 October — although I’m sure they’d take the 12-6 with a World Series title if you offered it to them now.”
Game 4 of the 2014 ALCS will be at 4:07 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 15 at the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium.