Royals remain extra special in ALCS Game 1 win over Orioles

lcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) celebrates with teammates Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez (13) after hitting a two-run home run that provided the winning margin in an 8-6 victory over the Orioles on Friday night.
(Matt Slocum / AP)

The rain-soaked sellout crowd at Camden Yards had waited long enough for this moment — Baltimore’s first American League Championship Series game in 17 years — so when Game 1 went to extra innings, few seats were vacated as the clock hit midnight.

They waved those orange rally towels through the Orioles’ mid-inning comeback from a four-run hole, chanting the team’s postseason mantra of “We Won’t Stop.” And they were raucous after the Orioles escaped a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the top of the ninth.

But the crack of Royals left fielder Alex Gordon’s bat in the top of the 10th inning — and the sight of the ball landing into the seats — silenced Oriole Park. And after third baseman Mike Moustakas followed three batters later with a two-run homer, the majority of the 47,124 fans headed to the exits.

The Orioles played so well in extra innings during the regular season — winning 14 of 20 — but they’ve run into a Royals team, seemingly bent on destiny, that has earned four of its five postseason wins in extra innings.


With two homers in the 10th, the Royals handed the Orioles an 8-6 loss, taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Gordon drove in four runs, including his tiebreaking solo homer in the 10th off right-hander Darren O’Day, his third go-ahead homer of the postseason.

“These games, we’ve played so many of them that we’re kind of used to them a little bit,” Royals Manager Ned Yost said. “And we still have a lot of confidence.”

Before hitting his first playoff homer, Gordon doubled in three runs, was picked off first base, made a great catch in left field and got hit in the neck with a pitch.


“Gordy just has a lot of confidence in his abilities,” Yost said. “He’s a guy that can hit by a pitch and do exactly what he did, drive it out of the ballpark tonight, after getting hit in the neck. So it was a huge hit for us at that point.”

Moustakas’ two-run shot, which game off left-hander Brian Matusz, was his third of the postseason.

Five of the seven homers O’Day has allowed this season (including the postseason) have come to left-handed batters. Each of his last three came in a tied game.

And Moustakas, who hit .172 against left-handed pitching, sent left-hander Matusz’s delivery over the center-field fence.

The Orioles answered with a run in the bottom of the 10th on Delmon Young’s two-out, pinch-hit RBI single off Royals closer Greg Holland, but the tying run was left on first when Nick Markakis grounded out to second to end the four-hour, 37-minute marathon.

Despite facing the bases loaded with no outs in the ninth, the Orioles escaped to keep the game tied at 5. Closer Zach Britton walked the bases loaded, but O’Day got out of the jam.

After Britton issued a full-count walk to leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar, he walked both Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain on four pitches. Eric Hosmer grounded to first, where Steve Pearce threw home for the force out.

Butler then worked a seven-pitch at bat against O’Day, who eventually induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play that brought the crowd to its feet.


Down 5-4 in the sixth, the Orioles tied the game on Alejandro De Aza’s bloop infield single on a ball that dropped about 75 feet from home plate, looping over reliever Brandon Finnegan’s head and falling in the grass between the mound and second base, scoring Jonathan Schoop.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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