Kansas City Royals: Revisiting the 2015 ALCS Game 3

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

After winning Game 2 and extending their series lead to 2-0, the Kansas City Royals must travel to Toronto to face the Blue Jays on their home turf.

The Kansas City Royals did what every team playing in the postseason hopes to do, take the lead in the series, and take it early. The Royals were able to stop the Blue Jays in their tracks while playing the first two games of the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium, winning a shutout in Game 1 and only allowing three runs in Game 2.

The celebrations only lasted a short time, though, as the Royals had to be on their way to Toronto. While Kansas City is home field, the Royals would hope the next time they played at Kauffman Stadium they would be playing in the World Series, as ALCS Games 3, 4 and 5 were all to be played in Toronto.

Knowing they only needed two more games to advance, the Royals needed to continue their scoring streak and shut down the Blue Jays early, before they could get a lead and have their crowd behind them. On Monday, October 19, 2015, in front of 49,751 fans, Game 3 of the ALCS got underway in Toronto.

Marcus Stroman was given the start for the Blue Jays in Game 3. Stroman had a short but productive 2015 regular season. Coming back from injury, Stroman started 4 games and ended with a 4-0 record and an ERA of 1.67. For the Royals, Johnny Cueto would take the mound. Cueto was acquired midseason from the Reds. In his time with the Kansas City Royals, Cueto had a 4-7 record, with an ERA of 4.76, a major jump from the 2.62 he held in Cincinnati.

The game got off to a quick start with Alcides Escobar tripling to right. On a ground out from Ben Zobrist, Escobar was able to run in for the score. Stroman sat the next two, ending the top of the first. Cueto started the game strong, giving up a walk to Jose Bautista but ending the inning quickly while notching two strikeouts as well.

The Royals tried to continue making moves in the top of the second. Kendrys Morales led off the inning with a single. He was followed by a flyball and ground out, forcing Morales out at second and allowing Salvador Perez to reach first. Alex Gordon tried to keep the hope alive with a single to right but was followed by a flyball out from Alex Rios.

Cueto began to struggle in the bottom of the second, and the Blue Jays took advantage of the situation. With one out, Cueto gave up a single to Troy Tulowitzki and then hit Russell Martin with a pitch. Kevin Pillar hit a ground out, getting Martin out at second but allowing Pillar to reach first and Tulowitzki to reach third. Ryan Goins stepped up to keep the line moving, singling to left, and batting in Tulowitzki and Pillar.

Cueto followed up by allowing a walk to Ben Revere, then a single to Josh Donaldson, batting in Goins. With a flyball out from Bautista, the inning was finally finished with the Blue Jays up 3-1.

In the top of the third, the Royals hoped they could get the game back on track. With one out, Zobrist doubled to center followed by a single from Lorenzo Cain. On a groundout from Eric Hosmer, Zobrist was able to score. Morales continued the line with a single, but the scoring was stopped with a pop fly from Mike Moustakas. Hoping to pull himself together, Cueto again began to struggle in the bottom of the third.

Edwin Encarnacion started the bottom half of the inning with a single, followed by a walk from Chris Colabello. Tulowitzki added to the score with a three-run home run. After giving up the home run, Cueto walked Martin, who wasn’t on base long when Pillar drove him in with a double to center. Cueto was struggling, and the Kansas City Royals knew. Kris Medlen was brought in to replace him in the third.

Medlen started well, striking out Goins and pitching Revere into a groundout. Unfortunately, he was unable to completely quiet the Blue Jays bats. Donaldson managed to hit a two-run home run, bring home Pillar for another score. Medlen finally recorded the final out of the third, striking out Bautista, leaving the third with Toronto on top, 9-2.

The fourth was quiet for both teams. Stroman retired the three Royals batters he faced. Medlen initially gave up a single to Encarnacion. He pulled it together, though, and pitched Colabello into a double play, followed by a strikeout to Tulowitzki. In the top of the fifth, the Royals again looked to close the gap in the score.

Escobar led off with a single, followed by a double from Zobrist. After a lineout from Cain, a wild pitch was thrown to Hosmer, allowing Escobar to score and Zobrist to reach third. Stroman continued to struggle walking Morales and giving up a single to Moustakas allowing Zobrist to score. He finished out the inning by pitching Perez into a groundout, leaving the score at 9-4 Toronto.

In the bottom of the fifth, Medlen looked to sit down the Blue Jays’ batters. He began strong with a strikeout and a groundout, but Goins got the best of him, hitting a home run and adding to the score. Medlen followed by recording the third out, closing out the fifth 10-4.

For both teams, the sixth and seventh were again quiet. Stroman gave up a single in the top of the sixth but got out of the inning without any further damage. Medlen, in a similar fashion, gave up only a walk in the bottom of the sixth. Stroman then gave up a single to Hosmer in the top of the seventh. Toronto replaced him with Aaron Sanchez who recorded the next two outs. Medlen had a quick, three up three down bottom of the seventh.

In the top of the eighth, Mark Lowe replaced Aaron Sanchez, retiring all three batters he saw. Franklin Morales came into the game for Medlen, hoping the keep the inning short. With one out, Morales gave up a single to Revere and walked Donaldson. On a single from Bautista, Revere scored. Morales quickly pulled the pieces together and closed out the eighth with a score of 11-4 Blue Jays.

Kansas City Royals, Kendrys Morales
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The game looked to be over heading into the ninth, but the Kansas City Royals were determined to not go down without a fight. For Toronto, Liam Hendricks took the mound. The Royals struck fast with a single from Escobar and a double from Zobrist. Cain followed up with a sacrifice fly to score Escobar, and Hosmer answered with a single to center, batting in Zobrist.

The Blue Jays replaced Hendricks at this time with Roberto Osuna. Morales was up first to face Osuna and before long, knocked a home run into the stands, batting in Hosmer. Unfortunately for the Royals, Osuna pitched both Moustakas and Perez into groundouts, ending the game with a score of 11-8.

Comparing the stats, 2019 to 2015 pitching. dark. Next

The Kansas City Royals had let this game get away from them, and knew they could not afford to let it happen again. With the next game being the following night in Toronto, the Royals would have to continue hitting and hope their pitching could hold down the Toronto bats as they try to again extend their series lead to 3-1.