For the first time since 1985, the Royals advanced to the World Series, completing a four-game sweep of the Orioles with a 2-1 victory. Greg Holland’s retired J.J. Hardy on a groundout with the tying run on first in the top of the ninth to punch Kansas City’s ticket to the Fall Classic. The Royals have reeled off eight straight postseason wins to open the playoffs this year.
As has been the case through much of the postseason, the Royals proved opportunistic in their ALCS victory. Kansas City scored its two runs in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI fielder’s choice and error when Jonathan Schoop’s attempt to cut down a runner advancing from third with one out was kicked out of the glove of catcher Caleb Joseph by Alcides Escobar. Both Escobar and Nori Aoki scored on the play. From there, starter Jason Vargas limited the O’s to one run in 5 1/3 innings, while the bullpen trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland delivered 3 2/3 shutout innings, thanks in part to more spectacular defense from the Royals.
Kansas City will now wait to see if it will remain in-state to play the Cardinals in a potential rematch of the 1985 World Series (won by Kansas City in seven games) or if they’ll take on the Giants.
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