To say both starting pitchers for the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays had struggled this postseason would be an understatement. Coming into game two, Yordano Ventura posted an ERA of 7.71, while his counterpart, David Price, owned a 7.20 mark.
Five of David Price’s 11 starts as a member of Toronto came after a loss, where he was a perfect 5-0 in those games. He would get his first blemish on that record today, taking the loss in a 6-3 outing.
Price pitched six innings of masterful baseball. He was strong, hit his spots, and wasn’t afraid to use his breaking ball. He retired 18 straight Royals batters after a lead-off single from Alcides Escobar to start the game. Sixteen in a row was the postseason franchise record set by Jimmy Key in 1992.
The Blue Jays broke their 12 inning scoreless streak in the third. Kevin Pillar continued where he left off with his eighth hit of the postseason before Ryan Goins doubled down the left field line to give Toronto their first lead in the series. The hit was Goins’s second in October, which, surprisingly, tied him with Troy Tulowitzki at the time.
Edwin Encarnacion wasn’t supposed to play today due to a finger strain, but Toronto is sure glad he did. With nine good fingers Encarnacion would register his second hit of the ball game that scored Josh Donaldson, who earlier reached on an infield single. The struggling Tulowitzki broke out with his second multi-hit game of the postseason, scoring Jose Bautista to increase the lead to three. Toronto squandered a bases-loaded 1-out opportunity with the help of Luke Hochevar out of the Royals’ bullpen, which would come back to haunt them.
It was a seventh inning meltdown.
It took 28 pitches from David Price to erase his three-run cushion, and 15 more for the Royals to take a two-run lead. A mental error by the pair of Ryan Goins and Jose Bautista would cost Toronto. Ben Zobrist plopped a fly ball in between the two, and Lorenzo Cain, who was 4-11 against Price before today, extended his postseason hitting streak to 11 games the next at bat, a Royals franchise record. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas would come through with a pair of singles, tying the game at three.
The Royals strung five singles together in their comeback against Houston to move on to the American League Championship Series, they did it again today. It was the first time Price surrendered five hits in an inning since May 8th against Kansas City, while he was still on the Detroit Tigers. An RBI double from Alex Gordon and an RBI single from ex-Blue Jay Alex Rios gave the Royals a 5-3 advantage.
Kansas City would add one more against the only lefty in the bullpen, Aaron Loup, and wouldn’t look back. The Royals bullpen has been completely shutdown this postseason, holding the Blue Jays off the scoreboard the entire series, so far.
If Toronto ends up on the losing end of this series, it will be due to their inability to come up with clutch hits with runners in scoring position. The Blue Jays are 3-23 w/RISP, while the Royals have eight hits in 20 attempts.