4. Mike Moustakas: ALDS Game 1 Hero
Moustakas grew up in Southern California. He hit his first career home run on the road against the Angels. So it’s only fitting that Moose hit the big home run to send the Kansas City Royals to a win in Game 1 of the ALDS.
After the incredible Wild Card Game, the Kansas City Royals were given little chance against the top-seeded Angels. However, the Royals took not one, not two but three separate leads in Game 1. Only the third one stuck.
A two-out double from Escobar scored Moustakas in the third inning, but Chris Iannetta homered in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score. In the fifth, Gordon scored on an Infante sacrifice fly. This time, David Freese answered immediately to tie the score.
However, the Royals took not one, not two but three separate leads in Game 1. Only the third one stuck.
However, Moustakas had the final word. Leading off the top of the 11th against Fernando Salas, Moose homered on a 1-1 pitch. He pulled the inside changeup for a towering home run that just made it over the high wall in right-center field.
Salas finished off the rest of the inning in short order. Holland did the same in the bottom half with a pair of strikeouts and—fittingly—a popout to Moustakas to end it.
While similar to Hosmer’s and Gordon’s late go-ahead home runs, Moustakas’ blast ranks this high for one simple reason: The other homers were followed by insurance runs. This was all Moose. It was also a sign of things to come, as he went on to crank five postseason home runs.