Kansas City’s relief corps was simply better, allowing the reigning AL champions to become the first home team to win in six games this postseason.
Ben Zobrist hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning, reliever Wade Davis got replay help for a key pickoff in the ninth and the Kansas City Royals rallied from a three-run hole to beat the Houston Astros 5-4 on Friday, evening their AL Division Series at a game apiece. Kansas City took the lead in the seventh when Alcides Escobar led off with a triple against Will Harris (0-1) and Zobrist followed with his single through the left side.
Game 3 is Sunday at Houston.
“Just battling”, first baseman Eric Hosmer said.
That meant the outcome hinged on the bullpens, and Kelvin Herrera (1-0) and Ryan Madson each tossed a scoreless inning for Kansas City. Herrera picked up the victory and Davis logged his first postseason save.
Up against him will be Scott Kazmir for the Astros.
CARDINALS 4, CUBS 0: John Lackey outpitched old teammate Jon Lester, allowing two hits into the eighth inning, and rookies Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty each homered late as the St. Louis Cardinals cooled off the Chicago Cubs with a victory Friday night in the opener of their NL Division Series.
Kazmir departed after 5 1/3 innings, charged with three runs, five hits and a walk.
Davis, who has not picked off a runner in the regular season since 2013, and even doesn’t throw much to first base, said he was anxious about throwing the ball away more than anything, as had happened in a recent play against the Tigers. “I was able to give the hitters a different look”. So I think I’m happy that we’re going home.
Oliver Perez replaced Kazmir after center fielder Lorenzo Cain’s double. Perez faced three batters, retired none, and two runs scored to tie it at 4. We’ve got home-field advantage for the rest of this series.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Gomez had the green light to steal, that he “had to get to second base at a few point”, and the Royals benefitted from Hosmer’s fancy glove work. He ultimately allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in seven innings.
“I felt strong”, Cueto said with coach Pedro Grifol acting as his interpreter. Gomez was initially ruled safe, but the call was overturned upon review for the second out of the inning.
The Astros again struck early and often, seizing a 4-2 lead after three innings. Right fielder Alex Rios laced a double to right center. “You’ve got to give them credit”, Rasmus said. “The Good Lord is with me”.
“I think I’ve just made more quality pitches at home, seems like”, Keuchel said. Rasmus doubled with two outs in the first, scoring right fielder George Springer, who had walked. That gave Springer eight RBIs in five games at Kauffman Stadium.Cueto required 49 pitches in the first two innings.
Colby Rasmus homered for the third time in three postseason games, but it wasn’t enough for the Astros to overcome the Royals in Game 2 of the ALDS on Friday. He has had just three career postseason starts and will need to get things spot on today or risk seeing his team fall to 0-2.
The Royals scored one run in the third, although it had the promise of being a bigger inning.
The Royals, however, scored three runs in the sixth and seventh inning to pull out the victory.
NOTES: The Astros will close the roof at Minute Maid Park for Game 3 and 4 on Sunday and Monday.