Royals 4, Angels 1, 11 innings (end of game)
As Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen took the mound, Royals players stood on the dugout steps with their caps turned sideways, rally style.
With one out, Lorenzo Cain legged out a slow infield single to shortstop Erick Aybar. Eric Hosmer then drilled a two-run home run into the right-field corner.
After Alex Gordon walked with two outs, Vinnie Pestano replaced Jepsen. With Salvador Perez at the plate, Gordon stole second base and moved to third on a throwing error by Chis Iannetta. Perez singled and Gordon scored the Royals’ fourth run. Omar Infante flied out.
In the bottom of the inning, Greg Holland came in to relieve Brandon Finnegan on the mound. Holland promptly struck out Efren Navarro, who was hitting for Collin Cowgill, and induced a ground out to third by Iannetta.
Kole Calhoun got on board on a throwing error by Royals second baseman Omar Infante, but Mike Trout struck out swinging to end the game and put the Angels in a 0-2 hole as the American League Division Series heads to Kansas City.
Game 3 is scheduled to begin Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on TBS.
Angels 1, Royals 1 (end of tenth inning)
With Huston Street, still pitching for the Angels, Kansas City's Omar Infante struck out and Mike Moustakas also struck out.
Alcides Escobar flied out to right field.
Royals left-handed reliever Brandon Finnegan took over and Erick Aybar grounded out. David Freese walked. Gordon Beckham came in as a pinch-runner for Freese. But Josh Hamilton grounded into a double play.
Angels 1, Royals 1 (end of ninth inning)
With Angels closer Huston Street on the mound, Eric Hosmer walked with one out. Billy Butler grounded into a force play, with Hosmer out at second base and Butler safe at first.
Terrance Gore came in as a pinch-runner for Butler and promptly stole second base. The Angels then intentionally walked Alex Gordon. Salvador Perez grounded out to third baseman David Freese.
After Royals reliever Jason Frasor entered the game, Mike Trout popped out to catcher Perez in foul ground behind home plate, making Trout 0-for-7 so far in the series.
Albert Pujols popped out to second baseman Omar Infante. Howie Kendrick flied out, sending the game into extra innings for the second consecutive night.
Angels 1, Royals 1 (end of eighth inning)
After Angels reliever Joe Smith took over for Jason Grilli, Kansas City's Mike Moustakas hit a chopper in front of home plate and was thrown out by catcher Chris Iannetta. Alcides Escobar struck out.
Norichika Aoki grounded out, so Smith and Grilli retired the six combined batters they faced.
Royals reliever Wade Davis took over for Ventura and C.J. Cron hit Davis' first pitch down the left-field line for a double.
Cron then was lifted for pinch-runner Collin Cowhill. Chris Iannetta flied out to center field and Cowgill tagged in hopes of reaching third base. But Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson, who had just entered the game, threw Cowgill out at third. Kole Calhoun grounded out.
Angels 1, Royals 1 (end of seventh inning)
Angels reliever Jason Grilli took over for Matt Shoemaker, who gave up one unearned run on five hits, struck out six and walked none in his six innings of work.
Alex Gordon flied out to shallow left field. Salvador Perez struck out swinging. Omar Infante flied out to shallow right field with second baseman Howie Kendrick making a running catch.
With Yordano Ventura still throwing hard, Erick Aybar grounded out and David Freese hit a comebacker, with Ventura throwing him out.
Josh Hamilton grounded out to first baseman Eric Hosmer.
Angels 1, Royals 1 (end of sixth inning)
Norichika Aoki flied deep down the left-field line and Hamilton made the catch as he ran toward foul ground. Lorenzo Cain struck out. Eric Hosmer singled. Billy Butler hit a deep fly to center field that Trout caught at the edge of the warning track.
The antsy crowd flashed the lights of their smartphones, creating a twinkling effect in Angel Stadium, as C.J. Cron struck out and Chris Iannetta grounded out. Kole Calhoun then singled to bring up Trout, who walked.
Albert Pujols singled to right field -- his first hit of the postseason -- and Calhoun scored to tie the game as Trout moved to third. Howie Kendrick then grounded out to third to end the inning.
Royals 1, Angels 0 (end of fifth inning)
Salvador Perez opened the inning with a single to center field. Omar Infante hit a big-league pop-up behind home plate that was caught by Chris Iannetta and Mike Moustakas struck out swinging.
Alcides Escobar grounded to David Freese at third base who threw over for the force out at second base.
Having faced the minimum number of Angels batters through four innings, Yordano Ventura served up a leadoff single to Howie Kendrick and the sold-out, red-clad Angel Stadium crowd came alive.
Erick Aybar singled up the middle, with Kendrick stopping at second base. Freese then grounded into a double play, with Kendrick stopping at third base.
Hamilton swung at Ventura’s first pitch and, at the end of his swing, his bat hit the head of the Royals catcher, Perez. But Perez stayed in the game and Hamilton flied out to right field.
Royals 1, Angels 0 (end of fourth inning)
Matt Shoemaker cruised through the inning. Eric Hosmer, who scored the Royals’ run in the second inning, struck out and Billy Butler flied out to shallow right field. Alex Gordon struck out swinging.
Calhoun, the Angels' leadoff batter, flied out to center field. Mike Trout lined out to third baseman Mike Moustakas and found himself still looking for his first postseason hit.
Pujols struck out looking and the Angels’ offense continued to sputter.
Royals 1, Angels 0 (end of third inning)
Mike Moustakas, who beat the Angels with a home run Thursday night, bunted safely as the ball trickled down the third-base line and the Angels had no play. Alcides Escobar, the leadoff batter, then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Moustakas to second base.
Norichika Aoki flied out to Josh Hamilton in left field. Lorenzo Cain struck out, leaving Moustakas stranded at second.
Royals 1, Angels 0 (end of second inning)
The Royals got their first hit when Eric Hosmer lined a single off Matt Shoemaker into the right-field corner, which Kole Calhoun bobbled for an error that allowed Hosmer to reach second base.
The mistake would cost the Angels.
After Billy Butler lifted a fly ball that shortstop Erick Aybar caught while backpedaling into shallow left field, Alex Gordon singled up the middle to score Hosmer. Salvador Perez, swinging with a full count, flied out to Trout in center field.
With Omar Infante at the plate, the Angels guessed right and pitched out just as Gordon tried to steal second base, but Gordon was safe on a poor throw by Chris Iannetta. But Infante struck out for the final out.
Howie Kendrick, who went 0-for-5 in the series opener Thursday night, continued to struggle by striking out. Aybar flied out to left field. David Freese, who homered Thursday night, struck out swinging at a 102 mph fastball from Yordano Ventura.
Angels 0, Royals 0 (end of first inning)
Making his first postseason appearance, the Royals’ rookie starting pitcher Yordano Ventura started out throwing 98 mph fastballs to Angels lead-off batter Kole Calhoun, but Calhoun singled up the middle. Mike Trout then hit a slow grounder to Escobar, the shortstop, who forced Calhoun at second base for the first out. With Albert Pujols at the plate, Trout tried to steal second base but Royals catcher Salvador Perez threw him out by plenty. Pujols grounded out to end the inning.
It was 92 degrees at Anaheim Stadium as Angels starter Matt Shoemaker went to work. This the was rookie right-hander’s first game since he suffered a rib-cage strain Sept. 15 but Shoemaker seemed to show no ill-effects of the layoff, retiring the side in order.
Alcides Escobar flied out to right field, Nori Aoki flied out to left and Lorenzo Cain flied out to right.
The Angels stuck with the same lineup for Game 2 — the only difference a flip between Erick Aybar and David Freese in the fifth and sixth spots. Here’s how the Angels’ lineup fared in their one look at Yordano Ventura this year:
1. RF Kole Calhoun (2-for-3); 2. CF Mike Trout (1-for-2); 3. 1B Albert Pujols (1-for-2); 4. 2B Howie Kendrick (1-for-2); 5. SS Erick Aybar (0-for-2); 6. 3B David Freese (1-for-2); 7. LF Josh Hamilton (0-for-2); 8. DH C.J. Cron (1-for-2); 9. C Chris Iannetta (DNP)
The Royals stuck with their winning lineup. Angels’ starter Matt Shoemaker had the worst outing of his career against the Royals on June 27. He gave up 11 hits and eight earned runs over four innings. Here’s how the Royals’ lineup has performed against Shoemaker:
1. SS Alcides Escobar (3-for-4); 2. RF Nori Aoki (1-for-3); 3. CF Lorenzo Cain (4-for-6); 4. 1B Eric Hosmer (.000); 5. DH Billy Butler (.207); 6. LF Alex Gordon (.200); 7. C Salvador Perez (.000); 8. 2B Omar Infante (.000); 9. 3B Mike Moustakas (.167)
Herrera has strained tendon
Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera was diagnosed with a “slight” strain to the flexor tendon in his forearm, a potentially serious injury that could knock him out for the remainder of the series or longer.
Royals Manager Ned Yost said when Herrera underwent an MRI exam, doctors found no damage and very little fluid. Yost called that news “really, really good.” He is hopeful Herrera could be back as soon as Game 3 in Kansas City on Sunday.
“Herrera’s fine,” Yost said. “We’re going to re-evalutate it on the off day tomorrow, and hopefully he’s going to be available for Sunday, but we’ll see.”
The injury, though, is often a sign of ulnar collateral ligament damage. Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs strained a flexor tendon earlier this season and later underwent Tommy John surgery.
Herrera is the seventh-inning option in the Royals’ loaded bullpen. He kept a 1.41 earned-run average through 70 regular-season innings. He left the game after one batter on Thursday.
The Royals will now pitch by matchups, with righty Jason Frason and lefties Brandon Finnegan and Tim Collins as the likely options.
What they're saying in Kansas City
Fans in Kansas City naturally relished the Royals’ 3-2 win over the Angels in 11 innings Thursday night to capture the opener of the ALDS, and they see it as the latest chapter in the Royals’ improbable season.
The blog Royals Blue went so far as to quote lines from a speech by former President Richard Nixon: “Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way.”
The blog continued: “If we have learned anything at all from the last couple of games, it is that no matter what the situation, the setting, or the expected outcome it is not wise to write off the Kansas City Royals.”
In his column after Thursday’s game, the Kansas City Star’s Vahe Gregorian wrote of the Royals: “They fended off every threat just long enough to enable the most improbable and perhaps poetic rescue of all: a game-winning home run in the top of the 11th inning by oft-maligned third baseman Mike Moustakas.”
Gregorian also took note of the intensity of the series, especially for the long-suffering Royals and their fans:
“You wanted playoffs?
“You got ’em …
“Just not in a safe or emotionally stable way you might have hoped for, with cuddly underdogs whose mere presence here was supposed to be the commemorative breakthrough.
“Instead, this series is teeming with 29 years of pent-up emotion and unpredictability that evidently was accumulating while the Royals were dormant doormats.”
Meanwhile, NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series is racing this weekend at Kansas Speedway, and NASCAR driver and Kansas native Clint Bowyer was asked about the Royals on Friday.
“Look at the storyline that Kansas City has had this week,” Bowyer said, noting the Royals’ win as well as the Kansas City Chiefs’ win over the New England Patriots on Monday. “If somehow a Kansas City driver could win this race that would be unbelievable.”
Stars must align on offense for Angels
If the Angels are to even up their best-of-five American League division series against Kansas City Friday night, they’ll need to get an early lead and apply a lot more pressure on Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura than they did on left-hander Jason Vargas in Game 1.
And to do that, they need their stars to come out. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick and Josh Hamilton combined to go 0 for 18 in Thursday night’s 3-2, 11-inning loss in Game 1.
Hamilton, playing his first game since Sept. 4 after missing most of the final month because of right shoulder, chest and rib-cage injuries, looked particularly out of sorts, going hitless in five at-bats, including a four-pitch strikeout against left-hander Tim Collins with the winning run on second in the ninth inning.
TBS analyst and former major leaguer Gary Sheffield took exception to the way Hamilton waved at the final pitch from Collins and trudged back to the dugout.
“Josh Hamilton concerns me,” Sheffield said on TBS’ post-game show. “His body language is a bad sign. Maybe one of his teammates needs to say something to him about his body language.
“We’re in the playoffs. You have to show some fire and energy. Teammates feed off of that. When you see a guy strike out and walk back [to the dugout] like nothing is going on … that is a bad sign for this team.”
What Sheffield apparently doesn’t know is that Hamilton has had the same body language for just about all of his two seasons in Anaheim, so it’s nothing new.
Though it would be unfair to pin the Game 1 loss on Hamilton, the left fielder drew most of the criticism from Angels fans on social media and post-game radio call-in shows. Many believe the Angels are better off without Hamilton, but Manager Mike Scioscia indicated Hamilton will start again Friday night.
“Josh is going to get a chance to get some at-bats and the swing,” Scioscia said. “If he can find that rhythm at the plate, that’s going to be huge for us.”
Matt Shoemaker in key spot again
There is no way to overstate what Matt Shoemaker has meant to the Angels this season, and Angels Manager Mike Scioscia makes no attempt to try.
“He saved our season,” Scioscia said several times in August and September, high praise for a rookie right-hander who went 16-4 with a 3.04 earned run average and eased the loss of Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs to season-ending injuries.
Shoemaker will get a chance to save the Angels’ postseason in Game 2 of the American League division series against Kansas City on Friday night. The Royals won Game 1 on Thursday, 3-2 in 11 innings, and a win Friday would give them a commanding lead in the best-of-five series.
“Even though it’s the playoffs and it’s on this awesome scale, it’s still a baseball game,” Shoemaker said. “That’s how we’re going to approach it.”
Shoemaker hasn’t pitched since Sept. 15, the night he suffered a mild left rib-cage strain, but he said he feels strong enough to throw 100 pitches Friday night. Keeping his pitches down in the zone could be a key.
Shoemaker left too many pitches up to the Royals on June 27, when he gave up eight earned runs and 11 hits, including a homer to Omar Infante, in four innings of an 8-6 loss. He rebounded from his worst start of the season to go 11-2 with a 2.09 ERA in his final 14 games.
Opposing Shoemaker will be hard-throwing Royals rookie Yordano Ventura, who has had an interesting week, to say the least. Ventura pitched in Sunday’s regular-season finale and entered Tuesday night’s wild-card game against Oakland in the sixth inning and gave up a three-run homer to Brandon Moss.
“I learned that things happen very quickly in the postseason,” Ventura, speaking through a translator, said of his first playoff game. “I got myself in trouble in that situation. Even though I don’t treat it as a different game, it is a different game. I understood immediately that falling behind in the count is not a good thing.”