1Escobar comes out swinging
When pondering the great mystery that is life, one might also wonder why Dallas Keuchel threw a pitch anywhere near the strike zone to start game three of the American League Division Series. Naturally, Alcides Escobar swung at the pitch and reached on an infield single. But Ben Zobrist struck out, and Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer grounded out. Royals starter Edinson Volquez made quick work of the Astros.
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2Hit by a bunt
Kendrys Morales opened with a single but again the Royals didn’t take advantage. Mike Moustakas grounded out and Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon struck out. Volquez, perhaps wisely, walked Colby Rasmus to open in the inning. But Volquez got through the inning, with the little help of an unassisted putout by Perez. Houston’s Carlos Gomez bunted, but the ball hit him out of the box and he was out.
3Run on Gordon?
Keuchel retired the Royals in order, but Escobar lined out to center field. It was the only ball hit in the air by the Royals through the first three innings. Chris Carter lined a shot into left field and tried for second base. That was a mistake. Gordon threw a laser to second base and Carter was out easily. Volquez then fanned Jason Catro and Jose Altuve looking.
4Cain silences the crowd
Lorenzo Cain opened the inning with a 10-pitch at-bat. Making Keuchel work is one thing, but Cain crushed the 10th offering to left field for a home run. Morales reached on an error with one out and Perez walked (no, really), but the Royals didn’t push another run across. Rasmus drew a two-out walk, but Volquez struck out Evan Gattis to end the inning.
5Astros take the lead
Zobrist hit a two-out double, but the Royals were unable to get him home when Hosmer struck out. The Astros finally got to Volquez. Luis Valbuena drew a one-out walk and Carter again hit a ball to the wall in left. This time he made it to second. Castro, who was having a dreadful series, followed with a single up the middle that scored both runners and Houston had the lead.
6Astros get the key hit
The Royals got another runner in scoring position ... but left him there. Mike Moustakas doubled to right with one out and took third on Perez’s grounder. But Gordon struck out to end the inning. Houston padded its lead as George Springer stung a liner into the left-center gap. Cain was on his horse and got there, but the ball glanced off his glove and Springer had a double. Carlos Correa grounded out and Springer moved to third. Rasmus was intentionally walked again and Volquez fell behind 3-0 to Gattis but came back to strike him out. But just when it seemed like the Royals would get out of the jam, Gomez hit an RBI single. Danny Duffy entered the game and got the final out.
7Another runner stranded at third
Another promising start to an inning as Rios drew a walk. He moved to second on Escobar’s grounder to first base and took third when Zobrist tried to bunt for a hit. Alas, Keuchel struck out Cain to end the threat. Making matters worse: Carter crushed a ball to left on Duffy’s first pitch of the bottom half. It was just run, but it seemed like a big one.
8What just happened?
Left-hander Tony Sipp took over for the Astros and struck out Hosmer, walked Morales and fanned Moustakas. However, Morales was forced out at second when Luke Gregerson entered the game and got Perez to ground harmlessly to third. Correa opened the bottom half with a single and Rasmus hit a ball, very, very, very high. It was headed toward right and hit the roof and fell harmlessly for a very strange single. But Luke Hochevar was unruffled, retiring the next three Astros.
9Too little, too late
The Royals tried to get back into the game in the ninth. Gordon hit a solo homer to left and Rios flied out deep to center. Escobar followed with a bloop single, but Zobrist hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Escobar. Cain then struck out to end the game.