Kansas City Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain makes a diving catch during the fifth inning of an 8-3 win over the Angels in Game 3 of the ALDS on Sunday.(Robert Gauthier, Los Angeles Times)
The Angels’ World Series hopes came to a crushing end in an 8-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals in Game 3 of the American League division series tonight at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
The Angels were swept in the best-of-five series by the Royals, who will play the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Championship Series, which begins Friday in Baltimore.
The Angels entered the postseason after claiming their first American League West division title since 2009. They finished the regular season with a 98-64 record, the best in baseball.
Royals 8, Angels 3 (end of eighth inning)
With Wade Davis on in the eighth, Howie Kendrick led off with a double and Erick Aybar singled and stole second. With two runners in scoring position, David Freese struck out, and Josh Hamilton grounded out to score a run. It was much too little, too late. C.J. Cron struck out to end the inning with the Angels down 8-3 and down to their last three outs.
Cory Rasmus stayed in the game and recorded another 1-2-3 inning to send the game to the ninth. The Angels will need hits, and a lot of them.
Royals 8, Angels 2 (end of seventh inning)
The end could be nearing for the Angels. Kelvin Herrera, back from a flexor strain, fanned Kole Calhoun, forced a Mike Trout pop out and a Albert Pujols fly ball.
The rain started to fall more heavily in the bottom of the inning, but Cory Rasmus was a rare bright spot in this game. He retired the Royals 1-2-3 to send this game to the eighth.
Royals 8, Angels 2 (end of sixth inning)
More men left on base for the Angels. Erick Aybar singled to start the inning. David Freese followed with a strikeout and Josh Hamilton flew out. With two outs, C.J. Cron walked, but Chris Iannetta struck out to strand another two runners on base.
In the sixth inning, a seventh pitcher for the Angels. And eventually an eighth. This time it was Kevin Jepsen, who promptly walked the leadoff batter, Omar Infante. An Alcides Escobar single moved Escobar to second and Norichika Aoki drove him in on a single. Jepsen was pulled for Cory Rasmus, who allowed a walk to load the bases, but he avoided further damage.
Royals 7, Angels 2 (end of fifth inning)
The Royals outfield is a black hole. Anything hit out there disappears into a glove. With two runners on, Lorenzo Cain made two spectacular grabs in center field to quash an Angels rally. Afterward, he popped up, pumped his arms and yelled to no one in particular. After a Chris Iannetta ground out started the inning, Kole Calhoun singled and Mike Trout walked. Albert Pujols lined a single to center field but was robbed by a diving Cain. The next batter, Kendrick, was robbed by a Cain sliding grab.
Jason Grilli came on in the bottom of the inning and got a 1-2-3 inning, the Angels' first of the game.
Royals 7, Angels 2 (end of fourth inning)
Slowly, the Angels' bats are starting to wake up though it may not be enough. Albert Pujols hit a home run in the same area as Mike Trout's first-inning blast. The home run was Pujols' 19th career postseason homer, fourth all-time. The Angels have four home runs in the series, all solo shots. Erick Aybar singled and David Freese was hit by a pitch, putting two runners on with one out. But Josh Hamilton (ground out) and C.J. Cron (strike out) couldn't find a clutch hit. Hamilton remains hitless in the series.
Every time the Angels start to inch closer, the Royals pull away. The Royals aren't supposed to be heavy hitters, but they're on a tear. After an Omar Infante pop out, Mike Moustakas hit a laser of a home run to right field to make the score 6-2. A Lorenzo Cain sacrifice fly added another run, and Morin's night was over. Fernando Salas struck out Eric Hosmer to end the fourth, but the Royals added to the lead.
Royals 5, Angels 1 (end of third inning)
That was easy. The Angels went down 1-2-3 in the third. Chris Iannetta popped out for the first out and Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout grounded out.
This one is getting away from the Angels fast. Eric Hosmer hit a two-run home run after Hector Santiago walked the leadoff man, Norichika Aoki. The Angels have scored four runs all series to this point. They'll have to make up at least that much in six more innings. Hosmer is now 7 for 13 with two home runs in this series. You know things are getting bad for the Angels when they allow Billy Butler to steal a base. Butler hadn't stolen a base in two seasons, but he took second with one out in the third. Mike Morin replaced Santiago and stranded Butler at third.
Royals 3, Angels 1 (end of second inning)
The Angels couldn't respond despite putting a man in scoring position. Erick Aybar led off with a single and took second on a wild pitch, but a David Freese strikeout, a Josh Hamilton fly out and a C.J. Cron strikeout stranded Aybar.
Pestano stayed in for the Angels in the second inning, but not for long. He struck out Omar Infante looking and was replaced by Hector Santiago, who retired the next two batters, Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar, in order.
Royals 3, Angels 1 (end of first inning)
Well, the lead was short lived. Alex Gordon tripled with the bases loaded to give the Royals a 3-1 lead and knock C.J. Wilson out of the game before the inning ended. After an Alcides Escobar ground out, Nori Aoki and Lorenzo Cain singled. Wilson struck out Eric Hosmer but walked Billy Butler to load the bases for Gordon, who delivered for the Royals. Vinnie Pestano came on in relief and induced a pop out to end the inning, but the Angels are in a hole early. Hector Santiago is warming in the bullpen and could come in for the second inning.
Angels 1, Royals 0 (middle of first inning)
Mike Trout, welcome to the postseason. He smoked a 94-mph fastball for a 412-foot home run in his first at bat of Game 3. That snapped an 0-for-8 slide through his first two playoff games. The blast gave the Angels their first lead of the series. Kole Calhoun, Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick each went down, but the Angels led 1-0.
The Angels and Royals will stick with their usual starting lineups tonight in Game 3 of the American League division series that Kansas City leads, 2-0.
Here's a look at the lineups:
Angels: 1. Kole Calhoun RF; 2. Mike Trout CF; 3. Albert Pujols 1B; 4. Howie Kendrick 2B; 5. Erick Aybar SS; 6. David Freese 3B; 7. Josh Hamilton LF; 8. C.J. Cron DH; 9. Chris Iannetta C (C.J. Wilson P)
Royals: 1. Alcides Escobar SS; 2. Norichika Aoki RF; 3. Lorenzo Cain CF; 4. Eric Hosmer 1B; 5. Billy Butler DH; 6. Alex Gordon LF; 7. Salvador Perez C; 8. Omar Infante 2B; 9. Mike Moustakas 3B (James Shields P)
Let's take a look at what people are saying about the American League division series between the Angels and Royals, who play Game 3 at 4:30 p.m. today.
The Royals’ first playoff series since New Coke was introduced is a pretty big deal in Kansas City. The term “stop the presses,” it turns out, actually means something. It seems the Kansas City Star did that so readers could get their Royals news, even if it meant some late deliveries:
Some copies of The Star may be delivered late today due to our coverage of the Royals/Angels game. We apologize for any inconvenience.— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) October 4, 2014
When the papers started hitting Missouri doorsteps, here’s what they included:
A few pockets of Royals fans made the trek to Anaheim, and after Friday’s game, they gathered behind the visitor’s dugout and chanted “Lets go Royals!” into the night.
Royals fans refusing to leave Angels Stadium pic.twitter.com/AvY9lG95Uo— Vahe Gregorian (@vgregorian) October 4, 2014
Sam Mellinger, a columnist for the Star, muses that the Royals are actually built really well for the postseason. Because playoff games are low scoring, the Royals have an advantage. When runs are stifled, the Royals have more of a chance to steal games, which they’ve done.
Their power pitching is an advantage against a good Angels lineup, their defense limits mistakes as well as saves runs and their baserunning has put pressure on the Angels’ pitching and defense.
Sam Mellinger column: Why the Royals are built for the playoffs (and could stick around awhile) https://t.co/so0UHLcMWH— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) October 4, 2014
Royals Manager Ned Yost has been a frustration for Royals fans this year. He stubbornly sticks to prescribed roles for relievers, even when matchups would dictate otherwise. He bunts like it’s going out of style (because it is). And in the AL wild-card game, he threw Yordano Ventura into a rare relief appearance with terrible results.
He is winning now, though, so he’s looking smarter and smarter. (Mellinger, in his column above, refers to this not as the “postseason” but the “Yostseason.) The Star’s sports page gave him some face time Sunday morning:
Some of the national baseball writers have given other reasons why the Royals have been successful this postseason:
In the Royals' three postseason games: Kansas City steals -- 11. Opponents -- 0.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 4, 2014
That’ll help. And Jeff Passan says they can manufacture more than just runs:
Kansas City manufacturing, ranked: 1) Barbecue 2) Runs— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 4, 2014
Jon Morosi says losing so much (and few have lost more than the Royals since 1985) can galvanize a team:
The Royals are playing with the particular sort of emotion that comes from losing a lot of games together, then gradually becoming awesome.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 4, 2014
Whatever the reason, tickets are hot. A seat in Kansas City is going for the highest average price of any division series game since TiqIQ started tracking prices in 2010.
And if the Royals win Sunday night, a party will be in order:
Me if the Chiefs and Royals win today. https://t.co/6qmd7w0KgN— Chiefs_All_Day (@Chiefs_All_Day) October 5, 2014
The Royals have gotten the best of the Angels in two consecutive extra-innings games, so most Angels fans can empathize with this kid:
Most teams don’t come back from a 0-2 hole in the AL division series. Those teams have lost 13 straight series, but a comeback isn’t unprecedented. Anyone remember the Sharks?
The San Jose Sharks have pronounced this Angels-KC series over.— Chris Dufresne (@DufresneLATimes) October 4, 2014
And our Mike DiGiovanna points out that the Angels have gone on streaks before:
In case you were wondering, #Angels have had 13 win streaks of 3 games or more this season.— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) October 4, 2014
Some, though, have already given up. Our friend Schwab here is a downer:
What time do the Tigers and Angels get swept today?— Schwab ¿¿ (@CallMeMrCee) October 5, 2014
But misery loves company:
#Angels fans probably feel the Nationals' pain right now.— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) October 5, 2014
And at least some Angels fans haven’t forgotten their manners:
@Angels please win— Manny (@de__lirious) October 5, 2014
The New York Times says the Angels are speaking softly, but that other part. . . .
Angels’ Big Sticks Are Speaking Too Softly Against the Royals https://t.co/VM5VqXVwBW— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) October 5, 2014
But it’s confirmed the Angels haven’t given up yet. They even made it to Kansas City:
A look at the pitching matchups
C.J. Wilson will have a chance to salvage his season and the Angels’ postseason on Sunday when he opposes Kansas City Royals ace James Shields in Game 3 of the American League Division Series in Kauffman Stadium.
Wilson went 13-10 with a 4.51 earned run average this season and was especially erratic in his last two starts, getting rocked for six runs and two hits and walking four in 2/3 of an inning against Oakland on Sept. 22 and rebounding with a six-inning, one-run, four-hit effort against Seattle on Sept. 27.
The Angels, who lost the first two games of the best-of-five series in Anaheim, will need the latter kind of effort if they are to have a chance to force the series to Game 4 on Monday. The fact that the Royals look more to hack than to walk could play into the hands of Wilson, who often struggles with his command.
“It really just comes down to … if I’m throwing the ball the way I want to throw it, it doesn’t really matter who the lineup is,” Wilson said. “If I’m able to locate the way I want to locate, then I’m going to be throwing a lot of strikes on the edges of the zone, not throwing balls down the middle.”
Though the Angels lost both Games 1 and 2 in extra innings, Wilson had a good feeling about the club as they headed to the clubhouse after Game 2.
“I feel like we’re going to be playing on Monday,” Wilson said. “That’s what I feel like. Because the way everybody came back through the dugout into the clubhouse after the last game, everyone had that right level of intensity.
“Like, they were a little bit upset that they didn’t come through, but they were determined to do it, and I think that’s what you see from our team, that resiliency. We’ve had a lot of things go wrong for us this year. We still managed to win a lot of games. It was because we pull together and work well as a team.
“Everybody gets along. Everybody trusts the other guy. Everybody feeds off each other. We have a lot of good energy, and I don’t think this is any different of a situation than that for me or for the team.”
Shields has a 6-3 record and 3.31 ERA in 13 career games against the Angels. The right-hander has had trouble with Howie Kendrick, who is 14 for 26 (.538) against him, but has held Josh Hamilton to two hits in 25 at-bats (.120).