Oct 14, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) celebrates after the win over the Houston Astros in game five of the ALDS at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
4. 2015 American League Division Series, Game 5
Johnny Cueto: 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 8 K
Game Score: 78
Game Result: Royals 7, Astros 2
KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore dealt three left-handed pitching prospects to get Johnny Cueto to headline his staff in the 2015 playoffs. Though Cueto struggled in the final two months of the season for Kansas City, and in his Game 2 start, he came through in the rubber game of the American League Division Series.
Two days before, the Kansas City Royals rallied from a four-run, eighth-inning deficit in an elimination game to force Game 5 in Kansas City. Still riding a buzz from performing a previously-never-achieved feat in major-league playoff history for the second season in a row, KC Royals fans believed Game 5 would see their team advance to the club’s second straight ALCS.
Johnny Cueto didn’t disappoint.
The early going, however, didn’t look good. The upstart Houston Astros (86-76) struck first on a single by designated hitter Evan Gattis followed by a home run from third baseman Luis Valbuena. Just like that, the Astros led 2-0.
The Kansas City Royals cut the lead in half in the fourth inning when first baseman Eric Hosmer slammed a single to score center-fielder Lorenzo Cain all the way from first base. However, the stubborn Astros continued to remain out in front until the KC Royals took the lead for good with a three-run fifth inning which included a two-run double from Alex Rios and a sacrifice fly by Ben Zobrist.
Astros kept the game close until the eighth inning when Kendrys Morales slammed a three-run home run to pretty much kill any hope of a rally. Meanwhile, Johnny Cueto didn’t allow a base-runner after Valbuena’s home run, retiring 21 straight batters. The KC Royals won 7-2.
For one game, Johnny Cueto was the ace that Dayton Moore paid a heavy price to acquire at the 2015 trade deadline.
Next: 1985 World Series, Game 3