The Kansas City Royals almost suffered an early playoff exit in 2015. Facing elimination, the team pulled off a furious rally in ALDS Game 4 to stay alive. Relive the thrilling win from two years ago.
(Editor’s note: This is one of several on-this-date posts that KoK will publish throughout the 2017 postseason. They will highlight the postseason success of the Kansas City Royals over the years with particular emphasis given to 2014 and 2015—given the strong ties to the current squad.)
In 2015, the Kansas City Royals nearly went through what Cleveland is experiencing right now.
After losing a heartbreaking World Series Game 7 at home, Cleveland earned home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs. However, the team lost in the ALDS. On this date two years ago, the Royals faced a similar situation against the Astros.
Coming off their own Game 7 disappointment, the Kansas City Royals looked set to be eliminated in ALDS Game 4 against an upstart Houston team. Having won the AL Wild Card Game, the Astros looked set to do what the Royals had done to the Angels in 2014 (and what the Yankees did to Cleveland this season).
However, Houston controlled proceeding from that point thanks to Carlos Correa. The young shortstop homered in the third inning to tie the score, doubled in the fifth to give his team the lead and homered in the seventh to extend it. Solo homers from Carlos Gomez and Colby Rasmus supported Correa’s breakout game.
With just six outs standing between them and elimination, the Kansas City Royals put together a rally for the ages.
Alex Rios, Alcides Escobar, Ben Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain hit consecutive singles to push across one run and chase Will Harris. Eric Hosmer greeted Tony Sipp with another single to pull the Kansas City Royals within 6-4.
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Then came the pivotal moment. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Kendrys Morales gave the Astros a lifeline. His grounder up the middle should have resulted in one run scoring, one runner reaching third base and a double-play. Instead, Correa whiffed on the bouncer.
Zobrist and Cain scored to tie the game. Everybody else reached safely, too—Hosmer at third base and Morales at first.
Jarrod Dyson ran for Morales and stole second base. Moustakas struck out, and Drew Butera walked to load the bases again. Luke Gregerson, who struggled for Oakland in the eighth inning of the 2014 Wild Card Game, could have escaped with a double-play ball.
However, Alex Gordon sent his grounder just far enough to the side of Jose Altuve to break the tie. Although, Altuve managed to field the ball and throw out Gordon. After a walk to Rios, Escobar struck out but the damage had been done.
Finishing it Off
The massive comeback had to be a huge gut punch to the Astros. However, a team with a penchant for home runs had six outs of their own to overturn a one-run lead. Ned Yost even asked closer Wade Davis to try to get those six outs.
This game was far from over.
Davis made quick work of Houston in the eighth inning. He then got some much-needed insurance in the top of the ninth. Zobrist walked to open the frame, Cain struck out and Hosmer smoked a two-run home run to right-center field.
Any air that had remained in Minute Maid Park after the eighth-inning rally completely evaporated with that blast.
Correa finished his incredible offensive game with a single to wind up 4 for 4. However, Davis struck out the next two batters to keep the tying run in the on-deck circle. The game ended as Gomez flied out to Paulo Orlando.
The victory forced a winner-take-all Game 5 back in Kansas City. But we’ll have more on that in a couple of days.
Where do you think this game ranks in terms of the best in Kansas City Royals history? Let us know in the comments and on social media.