After Johnny Cueto gave up a two-run homer to Luis Valbuena, a pitch Ned Yost told Fox Sports 1 that ‘really wasn’t bad,’ the missing piece to the Royals rotation settled in and never gave the Houston Astros a chance to score more.
Cueto got Chris Carter to foul out to end the second and then retired the next 18-batters after him to help the Royals reach the ALCS for the second year in a row with a 7-2 final in game five.
It was touch and go on what Cueto would do in the playoffs. We saw him battle through a late season personal five-game losing streak before righting the ship somewhat. I expected if the Royals were going to advance they would need to score at least five, but Cueto dominated.
He allowed the two runs on two hits and finished with eight strikeouts.
If the Royals never panicked down 6-2 in the eighth in game four, they surely weren’t going to at home after two innings.
The Royals finally figured out Collin McHugh who entered the game 2-0 lifetime against K.C. and was the game one winner.
It was vintage Royals offense. Speed and hit balls in the gap. Lorenzo Cain took off with a pitch to Eric Hosmer and scored from first on a single to center in the fourth. A hit batter, ground rule double from Sal Perez and Alex Gordon. They scored on Alex Rios’ double to make it 3-2 in the fifth.
Then, the Royals RBI machine came up against Houston ace and Cy Young candidate Dallas Keuchel. Houston was desperate to keep it a 4-2 game, but Keuchel coming out the bullpen was out of sorts and Kendrys Morales took him out of the park with a three-run homer in the eighth to make it 7-2 which took all of the drama out of it for Wade Davis in the ninth who finished off Cueto gem and the Astros in their magical season.
Watch Morales’ bomb (video/MLB)
The Royals, who held off Toronto for home field advantage the final weekend of the regular season, will host the Blue Jays for game one at 6:30 CT.