2014 American League Championship Series

From BR Bullpen

2014 American League Championship Series
Kansas City Royals logo
2014 American League Championship Series logo
Baltimore Orioles logo
Kansas City Royals
89 - 73 in the AL
4 - 0
Series Summary
Baltimore Orioles
96 - 66 in the AL

Overview[edit]

The Teams[edit]

Baltimore Orioles

Kansas City Royals

Umpires[edit]

With the introduction of instant replay, one extra umpire was added to work the replay screen at MLB headquearters, Iassogna doing so in Games 1 and 2 and Timmons starting with Game 3 until the end of the series.

Series results[edit]

Game Score Date Pitchers Time (ET)
1 Kansas City Royals 8 Baltimore Orioles 6 October 10 James Shields (0-0) Chris Tillman (0-0) 8:07 pm
2 Kansas City Royals 6 Baltimore Orioles 4 October 11 Yordano Ventura (0-0) Bud Norris (0-0) 4:07 pm
3 Baltimore Orioles 1 Kansas City Royals 2 October 14 Wei-Yin Chen (0-1) Jeremy Guthrie (0-0) 8:07 pm
4 Baltimore Orioles 1 Kansas City Royals 2 October 15 Miguel Gonzalez (0-1) Jason Vargas (1-0) 4:07 pm

Results[edit]

Game 1 @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Royals 0 0 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 8 12 1
Orioles 0 0 1 0 3 1 0 0 0 1 6 14 1
WP: Wade Davis (1-0), LP: Darren O'Day (0-1), SV: Greg Holland (1)
Home Runs: KC - Alcides Escobar (1), Alex Gordon (1), Mike Moustakas (1)
  • Attendance: 47,124

The Royals continued to be unbeatable in extra innings, winning for the fourth time in five postseason games in Game 1. They once again used some unexpected power to get ahead, smashing three long balls, including two in the decisive 10th inning. Both teams sent their ace to the mound, following an extended rest, with James Shields getting the nod for Kansas City and Chris Tillman for Baltimore. There was no surprise in the choice of starting line-ups, with Orioles manager Buck Showalter choosing Alejandro De Aza to start in left, and Nick Hundley to start at catcher over rookie Caleb Joseph.

The Royals took an early lead in the game when they broke through for four runs against Tillman in the top of the 3rd inning. SS Alcides Escobar hit a solo homer with one out, after which RF Nori Aoki walked and CF Lorenzo Cain singled. Tillman struck out 1B Eric Hosmer for the second out, but DH Billy Butler hit an infield single to load the bases. LF Alex Gordon began what would turn out to be a great game by unloading a double to right field, clearing the bases and advancing to third when RF Nick Markakis' relay back to the infield escaped from 2B Jonathan Schoop, who was charged with an error.

Things were looking bad for the Orioles. Before Kansas City's outburst, they had wasted a golden opportunity to score in the 2nd, leaving the bases loaded, and were now down by four runs. But the game was still young, and they got one of those runs back quickly when Markakis led off the bottom of the 3rd with a double, then advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a single by CF Adam Jones. After a second out, 1B Steve Pearce hit a line drive down the left field line that appeared to be a sure double, but Gordon made a great catch to end the inning and deny Baltimore a run. The Royals added a run in the 5th, chasing Tillman in the process. Cain hit a lead-off double and went to third on a ground out, inciting Showalter to replace Tillman with Tommy Hunter. Butler followed with a fly ball to center, allowing the speedy Cain to score, and the Royals' lead was again four runs, 5-1.

The Orioles managed to again react quickly, however. Markakis again was the spark plug, leading the bottom of the 5th with a single. De Aza followed with another single, and while Jones hit a ground ball to 3B Mike Moustakas, allowing him to force Markakis at third for the first out, DH Nelson Cruz followed with a double, driving in De Aza and placing Jones on third base. Shields walked Pearce to load the bases, but struck out SS J.J. Hardy for the second out. However, in a clutch situation, 3B Ryan Flaherty singled to right, scoring both Jones and Cruz, and the lead was down to 5-4. In the 6th, rookie Brandon Finnegan replaced Shields on the mound and got into immediate trouble, walking Schoop and allowing a single to Markakis. The runners then pulled off a double steal and De Aza singled on a pop-up to shallow left, allowing Schoop to score the tying run, although Markakis couldn't advance. That proved important, as Kelvin Herrera, who succeeded Finnegan, forced Jones to ground to third base, and once again Moustakas was able to force out the lead runner, setting the table for Cruz's inning-ending double play. The game was tied, but the Orioles had wasted an excellent chance to take the lead. The Royals would do the same in the top of the 9th, when the Orioles' usually stingy closer, Zach Britton, suddenly lost the plate, walking Escobar, CF Jarrod Dyson and Cain in succession, throwing 12 straight balls, to load the bases with none out. But Hosmer hit a ball straight at 1B Pearce, who threw home for the first out, then Darren O'Day came in to pitch and forced Butler to ground into a double play to end the threat.

The Royals showed no such mercy in the 10th inning, however. Gordon was the hero, when he led off the inning with a homer to right against O'Day. C Salvador Perez then drew a walk, but O'Day struck out 2B Omar Infante. Lefty Brian Matusz took over for O'Day at that point, but was greeted by another home run, this one off the bat of Moustakas, against the platoon advantage, to make the score 8-5. Greg Holland came in to pitch the bottom of the 10th for the Royals and got two quick outs before allowing a single to Flaherty. Jimmy Paredes pinch-hit for Hundley and drew a walk, bringing in Delmon Young to pinch-hit for Schoop. The O's postseason specialist proved his mettle again, singling to center, allowing Flaherty to score, but Markakis was unable to collect a fourth hit, grounding out to second to end the game.

Game 2 @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Royals 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 6 13 1
Orioles 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 9 1
WP: Wade Davis (2-0), LP: Darren O'Day (0-2), SV: Greg Holland (2)
Home Runs: BAL - Adam Jones (1); KC - Mike Moustakas (2)
  • Attendance: 46,912

The Royals took Game 2 with another late-game burst, this time two runs in the 9th inning against Darren O'Day and closer Zach Britton that broke a 4-4 tie. Until then, the game was pretty even, with both teams scoring their runs in the first half of the game before the bullpens took over. Rookie Yordano Ventura started for the Royals against Bud Norris for the Orioles, with rookie C Caleb Joseph starting in place of Nick Hundley the only change over the Game 1 line-ups.

The Royals got on the scoreboard immediately as after one out in the 1st, RF Nori Aoki singled and CF Lorenzo Cain doubled. 1B Eric Hosmer followed with a single to left that scored them both, thanks to Cain running all out from the moment the ball was hit. The Orioles replied in the bottom of the 2nd when Ventura walked the bases loaded with one out and 3B Ryan Flaherty hit a sacrifice fly to center. The Royals made it 3-1 in the 3rd when Cain and Hosmer both singled with two outs and DH Billy Butler followed with a double. In the bottom of the inning, the Orioles replied and tied the score when LF Alejandro De Aza doubled and CF Adam Jones hit his team's first long ball of the series. In the top of the 4th, Mike Moustakas hit a solo homer off Norris - already his fourth of the postseason. The Royals chased Norris after Cain's one-out single in the 5th, giving way to Brad Brach. The Orioles then tied the score again in the bottom of that inning, De Aza and Jones hit back-to-back singles with one out, De Aza advancing to third base on Jones's hit and scoring when DH Nelson Cruz grounded to force Jones at second.

After that high-scoring first half of the game, things settled down, with no more scoring until the 9th. Ventura left the game with two outs in the 6th, complaining of shoulder tightness. In the top of the 7th, the Royals tried unsuccessfully to use their speed, when manager Ned Yost sent in Jarrod Dyson to run for Aoki who had reached on a lead-off walk. Orioles manager Buck Showalter replied by bringing in lefty Andrew Miller, known for his ability to hold runners, as his next pitcher, and Dyson was caught stealing one out later. Kelvin Herrera created his own trouble in the bottom of that inning when he failed to touch the first base bag after accepting a toss from Hosmer, allowing RF Nick Markakis to reach on his error. He then walked De Aza and, after one out, allowed an infield single to Cruz, but retired the next two batters to escape the jam.

Darren O'Day was on the mound for the Orioles to start the 9th, having obtained the last out of the 8th. He allowed a lead-off single to 2B Omar Infante, prompting Showalter to bring in his closer, Britton. Yost called on pinch-runner Terrance Gore to come in and asked Moustakas to lay down a sacrifice bunt, which he did. SS Alcides Escobar was next up and he doubled down the right field line to put the Royals ahead. Flaherty then misplayed Dyson's grounder at third base for an error, allowing Escobar to take third, and Cain followed with his fourth hit of the game, a single to left that made it 6-4. Britton struck out the next two batters, but the damage was done. The Royals brought in their closer, Greg Holland to pitch the 9th, and he got the first two outs, allowed a single to Cruz, and then struck out 1B Steve Pearce to end the game.

There were a couple of statistical quirks in the game: when the Royals went down in order in the 8th, it ended a streak of having at least a runner on base in the each of the first 17 innings of the series, a sign of the relentless pressure they had applied on the Orioles from the start. Also, the winning and losing pitchers, as well as the pitcher getting the save, were the same three men as in Game 1.

Game 3 @ Kauffman Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Orioles 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Royals 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 x 2 7 0
WP: Jason Frasor (1-0), LP: Wei-Yin Chen (0-1), SV: Greg Holland (3)
Home Runs: none
  • Attendance: 40,183

Rain forced the postponement of Game 3 by 24 hours. When the series resumed, the Royals won their seventh straight postseason game this year by defeating the Orioles, 2-1, thanks once again to pitching, speed and defense. On the mound Jeremy Guthrie, making his first start in the postseason after 248 regular-season starts during his career, was facing Taiwanese Wei-Yin Chen, with Nick Hundley back behind the plate for Baltimore. For its part, Kansas City did not tinker with a line-up formula that had been very successful thus far.

Baltimore took an early lead in the game, its first of the series, when 1B Steve Pearce and SS J.J. Hardy hit back-to-back doubles with one out in the 2nd. 3B Ryan Flaherty followed by drawing a walk, but Guthrie retired Hundley and 2B Jonathan Schoop to end the inning. The Orioles would collect only one more hit for the remainder of the game, a lead-off single by RF Nick Markakis in the 3rd. Guthrie left after 5 innings and four relievers - Jason Frasor, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland would be perfect over the last four innings. Meanwhile, the Royals flashed some leather. In the 4th, 3B Mike Moustakas dove to his left to catch a line drive, taking a double away from Pearce, and in the 6th, he tumbled into the stands to catch a foul pop-up off the bat of CF Adam Jones.

The Royals tied the game in the 4th when they loaded the bases with one out, with singles by CF Lorenzo Cain and 1B Eric Hosmer and a walk to DH Billy Butler; LF Alex Gordon grounded to second, but it was enough to score Cain. In the 5th, SS Alcides Escobar singled in front of Chen with two outs, but was gunned down at second base when Chen's wild throw to first caromed off the railing right into the glove of Schoop, who relayed to Hardy at second base who tagged him out. In the 6th however, the Royals took the lead when RF Nori Aoki led off with a single and was replaced by pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson, who took third base when Hosmer singled with one out. Kevin Gausman replaced Chen on the mound at that point, but Butler managed to lift a ball to LF Alejandro De Aza deep enough for the rapid Dyson to cross the plate. Gausman stayed on for the remainder of the game not giving up a hit, but since the Royals' bullpen was just as stingy, the game ended with that 2-1 score.

Game 4 @ Kauffman Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Orioles 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
Royals 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 0
WP: Jason Vargas (1-0), LP: Miguel Gonzalez (0-1), SV: Greg Holland (4)
Home Runs: BAL - Ryan Flaherty (1)
  • Attendance: 40,468

The Royals completed their four-game sweep of the Orioles with another win by a 2-1 score in Game 4. With Jason Vargas facing Miguel Gonzalez on the mound, the game followed a familiar script, with the Royals scraping together a couple of runs and letting their dominant bullpen do the rest, with some help from their fielders. The Orioles shook up their line-up a bit, against the lefthander Vargas, with Nelson Cruz moving from DH to LF to make way for Delmon Young, and Caleb Joseph starting behind the plate as Buck Showalter continued to alternate his two backstops. For the Royals, there was no need to change anything, however.

After Vargas retired the Orioles in order in the top of the 1st, the Royals scored the only runs they would need in the bottom of the inning. SS Alcides Escobar led off with an infield single which deflected off 2B Jonathan Schoop then RF Nori Aoki was hit by a pitch. CF Lorenzo Cain decided to lay down a bunt which resulted in a sacrifice that advanced both runners; it was the first sacrifice of Cain's career. 1B Eric Hosmer was next up and grounded to his opposite number, Steve Pearce; he threw to Joseph but a sliding Escobar beat the tag and kicked the ball out of the catcher's glove. Aoki took advantage of the ball rolling to the backstop to score a second run. That was about it for the Royals' offense all evening: Billy Butler would hit a double in the 8th and a few more hitters would get on base via single or walk, but no one else would cross the plate. However, the two runs proved to be enough to win.

For the Orioles, 3B Ryan Flaherty led off the top of the 3rd with a homer down the right field line off Vargas, cutting the lead to 2-1, but apart from that, the Royals' lefty was cruising. He gave up only one other hit, which was erased by a double play, and walked three batters in 5 1/3 innings, but no other runner got past first base. In the 5th inning, he was helped by a tremendous catch by LF [[Alex Gordon], who slammed into the wall while running down a hard-hit line drive by SS J.J. Hardy. Vargas did walk Schoop to start the 6th, but he then retired lefthanded-hitting RF Nick Markakis for the first out before giving way to Kelvin Herrera. The hard-throwing reliever gave up a two-out single to CF Adam Jones that advanced Schoop to third, but Cruz hit a screaming line drive right at 2B Omar Infante to end the inning. Herrera then stayed in the game to pitch a perfect 7th inning. In the 8th, Wade Davis came in to pitch, that inning being his usual domain, and he retired the O's around a two-out single by Markakis.

Butler's lead-off double off Zach Britton in the 8th threatened to increase the Royals' lead, especially after speedy pinch-runner Terrance Gore replaced the man they call "Country Breakfast". However, Britton struck out Gordon then got C Salvador Perez to ground out to second to record two outs. With Gore on third base, he issued an intentional walk to Infante, Showalter electing to face the hot-hitting 3B Mike Moustakas instead. The strategy worked as Britton got Moustakas to pop out to second base, and the Birds were still trailing by only a run heading into the 9th. As expected, Greg Holland, who had saved the Royals' first three wins, came in to close the game. He walked Jones to create some immediate excitement, but got Cruz to hit a comebacker to him and threw out Jones at second base. He then struck out Young for the second out and forced Hardy to ground out to third to end the game. The Royals were headed to the World Series for the first time since 1985, and had set a new record by becoming the first team to win its first eight postseason games in one year; the 1976 Cincinnati Reds had won all seven games they played on their way to winning the World Series, and the 2007 Colorado Rockies had won seven straight before running into the Boston Red Sox and being swept in the World Series. Lorenzo Cain was named the series MVP on the basis of hitting .533 (8 for 15) with some outstanding defensive work in the outfield. Holland was the third reliever to notch four saves in a seven-game series, after Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 ALCS and John Wetteland in the 1996 World Series.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Matt Fulks: Out Of The Blue: The Kansas City Royals' Historic 2014 Season, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2015. ISBN 978-1-6293-7118-4

Related Sites[edit]

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AL Wild Card Game (1-0) Royals over Athletics

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