On a day that saw two potential sweeps, they both came through and answered the door. One team did it on one swing of the bat, the other did it on multiples swings. We'll be seeing two teams battling for an AL Pennant for the first time since the mid 80's and it truly has been a long time coming. Let's break down how they did it on this lovely Sunday shall we?
The Tigers went back home looking to get back into the series as they started David Price who is known to be a game saver as he did his job the entire night. The only problem? His competitor Bud Norris of the Orioles matched him step for step if not a step better.
Everything was going rather smoothly until Nelson Cruz came up in the top of the 6th where unfortunately Alex Avila (Catcher for the Tigers) had to be pulled for a foul ball caroming of his mask which shook him up enough to have him leave the ballgame. This is where the feathers were ruffled for the Tigers, and they let Adam Jones get on base with a single, and Nelson Cruz hit's an up and out fastball to the shortest part of the outfield wall in fair territory down the right field line for a home run giving the Orioles a 2-0 lead and putting Nelson Cruz 9th on the all time postseason homerun list. This pretty much did the Tigers in as they had zero offense the rest of the game.
The Tigers answered in the 9th with a rally to put one run on the board but no more as the Orioles win 2-1, and sweep the Tigers in the best of 5 ALDS 3-0. First time the Orioles have been to the ALCS since 1997 when they faced the eventual world champions in the New York Yankees. I will admit, there were a couple seriously questionable calls that the umpires made regarding the Tigers behalf at certain points in this game. The 2nd inning is a pretty good place to start as Andrew Romine hit a ground out that would have ended the inning but the play was so close that a review came up and the review showed that he was safe. This cost the Tigers a 1-0 lead and a chance to inch their way that much closer to getting back into the series. There was another blown call in the 3rd inning where Kelly was at 2nd base and the shortstop grabbed a ground ball, threw it over to the second basemen (Schoop) who was covering the bag, blocked Kelly from sliding back in, dropped the ball, and while the ball was loose holding Kelly off the bag, Schoop eventually tag him out and the umps called the runner out. It was a terrible call and the whole world saw it and nothing could be done by review. Those two outs could have given the Tigers a better shot at making this a 2-1 series instead of a 3-0 sweep, but we are here now with the Orioles in the ALCS for the first time since 1983.
We go a little further south now as the Angels were taking on the Royals in Kansas City and the Angels were trying to keep themselves alive and it looked highly likely after the top of the first. Mike Trout broke out of his 0-8 slump and hit a solo shot to left field giving the Angels an early 1-0 lead to start the ball game. The Royals had other plans.
They came out in the next half inning, had the bases loaded with two outs, and Alex Gordan hit a bases clearing 3 run triple to give the Royals a 3-1 lead after the first inning. What also helped the Royals cause is they managed to get C.J. Wilson (The Angels starting pitcher) pulled after Alex Gordan hit the triple. This was when the Angels bullpen became used as a battering ram the rest of the game instead of being used as a weapon.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Eric Hosmer hit a 2 run homerun to make it 5-1 Kansas City. Then the ultimate dagger in the hearts of Angels fans was when Billy Butler got aboard via walk and then stole 2nd base, which was his first steal since July of 2012. That's when you knew the Angels were out of it mentally.
Albert Pujols hit a solo shot in the top of the 4th to cut it to 5-2, but the Royals again responded in the bottom of the 4th when the Angels couldn't add anymore when threatening in the top of the 4th. Mike Moustakas hit another crank shot to respond to Albert's solo blast making it 6-2, then Escobar tagged up from 3rd on a Lorenzo Cain fly ball to make it 7-2 Kansas City. Cain also provided in the next half inning (Top 5th) two of the most energizing catches Kansas City has ever seen.
The writing was on the wall at this point, Nori Aoki added and RBI Single in the bottom of the 6th making it 8-2 Royals, and the Angels picked up another run in the 7th to make it 8-3 Royals which would ultimately be the final score as the Royals are now heading to Baltimore for Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday October 10th to battle for the American League Pennant.
Two sweeps. On a Sunday ready to see a continuance, two teams seasons ended and a long awaited Pennant chase by two franchises who havn't been their in a long time will get to dust off their playoff swagger for yet another opportunity to get back to the World Series. It all starts on Friday the 10th!
I'll see you tomorrow!