Kansas City Royals: Revisiting the 2015 ALDS Game 3
After a Game 2 win by the Kansas City Royals, the team looked to tip the series back in their favor as they faced off with Houston at Minute Maid Park.
In Game 2 of the 2015 ALDS, the Kansas City Royals struck back at the Astros after a Game 1 loss, tying the series at 1-1. Unable to take both opening games with a home field advantage, the Royals had to leave Kauffman for Minute Maid Park and meet the Astros on their own field.
On October 11, 2015, with 42,674 fans packed into the seats, the ALDS Game 3 took off. Taking the mound for the Royals was Edinson Volquez. Volquez was 13-9 during the regular season, and was the only Royals pitcher to pitch 200 innings in 2015. For Houston, Dallas Keuchel got the start. Keuchel had put together a great 20-8 regular season, pitching 232 innings.
The game started with a positive light for the Royals. Alcides Escobar led off with a single to the shortstop. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t get much further as the next three batters were unable to produce. Volquez answered in the bottom of the first by closing it out with three up and three down.
In the second, the Royals’ Kendrys Morales got things off to a start with another single to begin the inning. Keuchel shut down any chance at a score, though, ending the inning with a groundout and two strikeouts. In a similar fashion, the Astros first batter up made it on base after Volquez pitched into a walk. Fortunately for the Royals, they were able to get out of the inning without any further damage.
In the third inning, the game started to seem as though it would continue as a pitchers’ duel, both pitchers getting out of the inning without allowing a hit. In the fourth inning, the Royals were finally able to make the first move with a home run from Lorenzo Cain to start the inning. Morales reached base on an error and Perez on a walk, but the Royals were unable to capitalize. The fourth ended without any further score from either side.
The Royals made some moves in the fifth behind a double from Ben Zobrist and a base on an intentional walk to Cain but, again, they were unable to bat any runners in. In the bottom of the fifth, Volquez started to struggle. Giving up another walk followed by a double, Jason Castro was able to drive in two with a single to center, putting the Astros up 2-1.
The sixth was quiet for the Royals with only a single hit. In the bottom of the sixth, the Astros struck again, driving in one more run on two hits, putting the score at 3-1. After this, Volquez was taken out of the game and replaced by Danny Duffy. Duffy ended the inning quickly with no further runs.
The Royals were unable to get their bats going in the seventh, leading off with a walk but scoring no runs. In the bottom of the seventh, Danny Duffy gave up a Home Run to Chris Carter to put the Astros lead at 4-1. Duffy recorded one more out and the ball was turned over to Luke Hochevar, who recorded the final two outs of the inning.
The eighth inning ended without any runs scored. Tony Sipp recorded two outs for the Astros giving the ball to Luke Gregerson for the final out. Hochevar finished out the eighth, giving up two singles without allowing any runs to score.
In the top of the ninth, the Royals were looking for a desperately needed rally. Alex Gordon stepped to the plate and started the inning with a home run, setting the score at 4-2. Escobar was able to single to left with only one out, but the following Royals were unable to bat him in to score.
In losing this game, the Royals allowed the series to turn in favor of Houston. The Astros led the series 2-1 and only needed to secure one more win to advance, and knock the Royals out of the postseason. The Royals would have to silence the crowd and the Astros bats as they faced off again the following night at Minute Maid Park.