The Kansas City Royals had another huge come from behind win against the Astros to take a 3 to 2 series win. They know that they will now meet a tough Blue Jay team, starting Friday night at Kauffman.
If ever the Royals needed a lights out performance from Johnny Cueto, it was Wednesday night. And except for one pitch, which, according to Ned Yost, was not that bad, he might have had an unbelievable night. But after a gaff on a throw to third, a home run for the Astros plated two runs, giving them the early lead.
Could Johnny hold the fort until the Royals came charging back? And charge they did. Cueto lasted through the 8th and had to be told by Ned that it was a “Check, please” 9th for Wade Davis. As Greg Holland looked on with his bad elbow, Davis made quick work of Houston in the 9th.
The bubbly then ensued and the Royals clubhouse was drenched as the players celebrated in goggles.
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But back to Cueto’s night. During the first inning, Cueto looked like the ace he has been, dominating in getting a popup, a strikeout and a fly ball to set the Astros down in order. Then came the second. With two out, Mike Moustakas made an almost miraculous throw that eric Hosmer caught but cannot hold. Luis Valbuena followed with a two run homer that appeared to end the Royals night, even though it was still early in the contest.
Then Johnny turned mean. Maybe not Big Bad John, but close. He would not die as in the song of that name.
The Astros were not an offensive threat after that. More strikes outs occurred and the Astros were panting, hoping to hold their two run lead. Can you be almost dejected knowing that lead probably will not hold? Witness the 4th game Monday.
In the third through the sixth inning, Johnny Cueto couldn’t be stopped. By the end of the fifth. with the Royals having 4-2 lead, the fate of the Astros was apparent. A long, tough plane ride home for the feisty but inexperienced team, as the Royals offense finally arrived.
By the seventh, it was time for the Kansas City Royals to count down the outs. Ben Zobrist makes a diving catch, 8 outs to go. The irreplaceable Colby Rasmus goes down with a K, 7 outs to go. Moose ended the 7th inning this time with a great throw, six outs left. Cueto jumps up as he enters the dugout. He and the rest of the team are pumped.
At the end of the eight, Cueto struted to the dugout. He had done his job, and now, the Royals simply needed to get three more outs.
The television shot shows a dancing Davis in the bullpen, getting for an all too obvious 9th. By this time the Royals offense has pounced and the Astros are pondering a long post-season. They became a good team that was overmatched in the clutch. Kendrys Morales drove the final dagger home with a three run home run against Dallas Kuechel. The Astros already have no hope. Are these really insurance runs or is Morales rubbing it in?
Everyone was standing. The crowd is doing a post-game celebration while the game was going on. A television camera shows a fan praying before Davis comes in, but why pray when Davis is coming in?
The 9th was a breeze. Tucker struck out, Altuve grounded out and Springer flew out to Paulo Orlando taking on the wall just a bit.
Television shots in the clubhouse showed the biggest bottle of bubbly ever. Plastic covered everything in the clubhouse except for the players. Ned’s tractor is again on hold. Salvador Perez was dancing. The TV camera was sprayed in what is a requirement when celebrating in the postseason.
Now Ned to the podium. The reporters go quiet, as The Man is talking. We listen. We understand. He said that the Valbuena homer was not off a bad pitch. In other words, Johnny was It. The skipper also said that Cueto was begging for 9th, wanting the complete game. But Ned knows that even with a big lead, 7 to 2, Davis owns the 9th.
In the end, Johnny Cueto gave the Kansas City Royals everything they asked for. One could not have asked for a much better outing.