The Royals earned another champagne shower at Kauffman Stadium.
Lorenzo Cain sprinted home from first base on Eric Hosmer’s single in the eighth inning Friday night, Wade Davis weathered a 45-minute rain delay and a white-knuckle ninth, and Kansas City beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3, to earn its second straight trip to the World Series.
Davis retired Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson on a ground out with runners on second and third to end Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.
The Royals open the World Series on Tuesday night at home against the New York Mets. A year ago, they lost in Game 7 to San Francisco.
“We came in with one goal and that was to get back to the World Series. It can’t be any better than this,” Cain said.
Jose Bautista’s second home run of the game, a two-run shot in the top of the eighth, lifted Toronto into a 3-3 tie.
But any momentum the Blue Jays might have had was washed away when a line of rain swept through town, sending players and fans scurrying for cover.
After the delay, Cain promptly worked a leadoff walk from Toronto closer Roberto Osuna, and Hosmer followed with a clean single that Bautista fielded down the right-field line.
Rather than hit the cutoff man, though, Bautista threw to second to keep Hosmer to a single. That gave the speedy Cain, running full speed the entire way and being waved home by third base coach Mike Jirschele, enough time to beat the relay throw from second base with a textbook slide that ignited a sellout crowd.
“I was hustling all the way,” Cain said. “I don’t know what happened; I just kept going.”
Then it was up to Davis, who’d gotten the Royals out of a jam in the eighth, to finish it off.
Davis, who took over as the Royals’ closer in September when Greg Holland was sidelined by a torn elbow ligament, gave up a single to Russell Martin and walked Kevin Pillar before striking out pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro with runners at first and third after a stolen base. After another stolen base put the potential go-ahead run at second, Davis struck out Ben Revere, then got Donaldson on a bouncer to third.
Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar was voted the ALCS MVP after going 11 for 23 (.478) with five RBIs and six runs scored. And for the fifth time in two years, the Royals clinched a postseason series at home.
“They made a run at it,” Toronto Manager John Gibbons said of his team. “I really couldn’t be more proud of our guys. They laid it out every day, they’re great competitors and a fun bunch, fun to be around every day.”
Ben Zobrist and Mike Moustakas homered and Alex Rios also drove in a run for Kansas City, which ended an embarrassing 29-year postseason drought just last season.
The Royals eventually swept their way to the World Series, where they succumbed to the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 with the tying run standing 90 feet away.
Kansas City will try to do one win better against the Mets, who beat the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs and swept the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. The Royals last won the World Series in 1985.
For the Blue Jays, it was a frustrating end to a late-season surge that stopped their own postseason drought dating to 1993. They had rallied from a 2-0 series deficit against Texas in the divisional round, then staved off elimination against the Royals in Game 5 in Toronto.
They simply couldn’t win their sixth straight elimination game.