Royals

The view from Baltimore: The players who could play key roles in the Orioles-Royals series

Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23), who led the major leagues with 40 home runs in the regular season, continued to prove his value to the club with a pair of two-run home runs and five RBIs during the three games against the Detroit Tigers.
Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23), who led the major leagues with 40 home runs in the regular season, continued to prove his value to the club with a pair of two-run home runs and five RBIs during the three games against the Detroit Tigers. The Associated Press

As the Orioles and the Kansas City Royals swept their way through their respective American League Division Series, several players provided clutch plays.

Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who led the major leagues with 40 home runs in the regular season, continued to prove his value to the club with a pair of two-run home runs and five RBIs during the three games against the Detroit Tigers.

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer was almost as good as Cruz in Kansas City's series against the Los Angeles Angels. He hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning of Game 2 and another in the third inning of Game 3.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas added two solo homers for the Royals, a game-winning shot in the 11th inning of the series opener and another in Game 3.

So which players will step up in the American League Championship Series, which begins Friday at Camden Yards? Here are seven who could be key to deciding which team advances to the World Series.

Click here to see the photo gallery on the Baltimore Sun’s website.

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