What, Royals worry? Not a chance, when they’ve been so tough in elimination games

Pitcher Chris Young took the field at Kauffman Stadium Tuesday for the team’s off-day workout. He’ll be available to pitch in relief today, if need be.
Pitcher Chris Young took the field at Kauffman Stadium Tuesday for the team’s off-day workout. He’ll be available to pitch in relief today, if need be.

The Royals have won five of six postseason games the last two years when they’ve had a chance to clinch a series or avoid elimination. But past results do not indicate future performance.

“We can’t walk in tomorrow and knock on Houston’s door and say, ‘Look, we’re pretty good in elimination games,’ ” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “You know, it doesn’t work like that.”

Still, the Royals are confident heading into their AL Division Series-deciding Game 5 against the Astros on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals are one of just nine teams to overcome a four-run deficit in a playoff victory to avoid elimination. In last year’s AL Wild Card Game and in ALDS Game 4 on Monday in Houston, the Royals trailed by four runs in the eighth inning. They won the Wild Card Game 9-8 over Oakland in 12 innings and beat the Astros 9-6 earlier this week.

No other major-league team facing elimination has come back from that large of a deficit that late in a playoff game, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

“Even if we go down to an early lead or have our backs against the walls, we always feel like we’re in the game some type of way,” Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said.

Royals in playoff elimination games

The Royals are 13-8 in playoff games in which they are facing elimination or can eliminate their opponent — 11-1 in their last 12 such games. When strictly facing elimination, the Royals have won nine of their last 10 after starting off 0-6 in franchise history.

1976 (1-1)

ALCS Game 4 (down 2-1): Won at Yankees 7-4

ALCS Game 5 (tied 2-2): Lost at Yankees 7-6

1977 (0-2)

ALCS Game 4 (up 2-1): Lost vs. Yankees 6-4

ALCS Game 5(tied 2-2): Lost vs. Yankees 5-3

1978 (0-1)

ALCS Game 4 (down 2-1): Lost at Yankees 2-1

1980 (1-1)

ALCS Game 3 (up 2-0): Won at Yankees 4-2

World Series Game 6 (down 3-2): Lost at Phillies 4-1

1981 (0-1)

ALDS Game 3 (down 2-0): Lost at A’s 4-1

1984 (0-1)

ALCS Game 3 (down 2-0): Lost at Tigers 1-0

1985 (6-0)

ALCS Game 5 (down 3-1): Won vs. Blue Jays 2-0

ALCS Game 6 (down 3-2): Won at Blue Jays 5-3

ALCS Game 7 (tied 3-3): Won at Blue Jays 6-2

World Series Game 5 (down 3-1): Won at Cardinals 6-1

World Series Game 6 (down 3-2): Won vs. Cardinals 2-1

World Series Game 7 (tied 3-3): Won vs. Cardinals 11-0

2014 (4-1)

AL Wild Card Game: Won vs. A’s 9-8 in 12 innings

ALDS Game 3 (up 2-0): Won vs. Angels 8-3

ALCS Game 4 (up 3-0): Won vs. Orioles 2-1

World Series Game 6 (down 3-2): Won vs. Giants 10-0

World Series Game 7 (tied 3-3): Lost vs. Giants 3-2

2015 (1-0)

ALDS Game 4 (down 2-1): Won at Astros 9-6

Correa looks to bounce back

Astros rookie shortstop Carlos Correa was three for 17 in his first four postseason games before breaking out with two home runs and a run-scoring double for four RBIs on Monday.

He took the game personally, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said, but not because he became the youngest AL player to homer twice in a postseason game at 21. After his second home run, Correa couldn’t handle Kendrys Morales’ bouncing ball over the pitcher’s mound, leading to two runs, and the Royals tied the score at 6-6 in the eighth inning and went on to win.

After the game Monday, Correa wasn’t in a mood to make excuses for missing the ball — it was deflected off the glove of Astros pitcher Tony Sipp and took an odd bounce — telling reporters he missed the play.

“It doesn’t surprise me that he would take it personal,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “This guy’s mature beyond his years.

“So I don’t have to encourage him. I don’t have to pick his chin up. I don’t have to do anything other than show the consistency that I do with him, knowing that he’ll bounce back fine.”

Chris Fickett: (816) 234-4354, @chrisfickett