KANSAS CITY, Mo. - After David Price dominated for six scoreless innings, allowing one hit, the Kansas City Royals' dormant offense woke up Saturday.
Alex Gordon hit a go-ahead double in a five-run seventh as the Royals batted around and rallied for a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series.
It should not come as a surprise that the Royals' rallied late. They were down four runs in the eighth inning in the 2014 wild-card game to Oakland, but rallied to win. They trailed at Houston by four runs in the eighth inning Monday and on the verge of being eliminated, but came back to win.
So a five-run seventh inning off Price should not be a shocker.
"It was crazy, but I've seen it before," said winning pitcher Danny Duffy. "Never doubt our guys."
Price allowed only a leadoff single on his first pitch of the game to shortstop Alcides Escobar until the seventh.
Price retired the next 18 batters, a Blue Jays' record for consecutive batters retired in a postseason game, while striking out seven, including the side in the sixth.
In the seventh, Price, who is winless in seven career postseason starts, and the Blue Jays became unraveled.
The inning began with second baseman Ben Zobrist hitting a flare to shallow right that dropped between second baseman Ryan Goins and right fielder Jose Bautista for a single.
"I put my glove up and pretty much was saying 'I'm going to make this play,' and then I didn't make the play, so it's on me," Goins said. "I put my glove up. That's pretty much our sign. It means for the outfielder to back off. Nothing can be said about it. I didn't make the play."
Price said Zobrist's cheap hit "absolutely" did not impact him mentally.
"Once he got on, getting the next guy out," Price said was his focus. "I stay in the present. I don't worry about what happened in the past. I look forward to getting that 27th out. I focused on Cain and the next guys. It just didn't work out."
Lorenzo Cain followed with a crisp single to right, extending his postseason hitting streak to 11 games, tying a club record.
"We continue to fight and battle, no matter what inning it is or how many runs we're down," Cain said. "We came up when we needed it the most."
First baseman Eric Hosmer singled to center, bringing home Zobrist with the first Kansas City run and advancing Cain to third. Cain scored on designated hitter Kendrys Morales' ground out.
"This place is magical," Hosmer said. "When Zobrist gets that first knock and Lo Cain follows it up, you know you've got something brewing. Keeping the line moving and we just got it done."
Third baseman Mike Moustakas snapped an 0-for-13 skid with a RBI single to tie it and advanced to second on the throw home.
After Price struck out catcher Salvador Perez, left fielder Gordon worked the count full before doubling to right-center to drive in Moustakas and put the Royals in front 4-3.
"We just needed to catch a break," Moustakas said of Zobrist's ball dropping in. "Price was throwing the ball unbelievable. I think we just needed to find a way to get a runner on base, so we can do what we can, which is to keep the line moving."
Gordon turned on Price's 96 mph fastball, which was his 30th and final pitch of the inning. He had not thrown more than 14 pitches in any of the first six innings.
Aaron Sanchez replaced Price and promptly gave up a run-producing single to right fielder Alex Rios.
Moustakas' two-out eighth inning single scored Hosmer with an insurance run as Kansas City won its nine straight ALCS contest, one shy of the record held by the Baltimore Orioles (1969-73).
The Blue Jays scored two runs in the sixth, when designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion's single drove in third baseman Josh Donaldson with the first run.
Bautista, who had walked, scored on shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's double.
"We've been down 2-0 before, obviously in a (five-game) series," Tulowitzki said. "It is still a tough loss. You at least want a split. The game was right there for us. Unfortunately it got away."
Royals starter Yordano Ventura failed to survive the inning. Luke Hochevar was summoned with one out and the bases full, and retired Kevin Pillar and Goins on five pitches, keeping the ball in the infield.
Right-hander Wade Davis yielded a single and a walk to begin the ninth, but posted his third postseason save. Duffy picked up the victory, pitching a spotless seventh inning.
The Royals' pitchers streak of 18 scoreless innings ended in the third. Ventura surrendered back-to-back doubles to center fielder Kevin Pillar and Goins, the Blue Jays' eighth and ninth hitters, to start the frame.
Goins' double to left on Ventura's 97 mph fastball scored Pillar for the only run in the first five innings.
Escobar made a defensive gem to bail out Ventura in the second after Encarnacion and first baseman Chris Colabello opened the inning with singles.
After Tulowitzki struck out, Escobar made a diving catch of catcher Russell Martin's liner and flipped to second baseman Zobrist to double off Encarnacion.
Martin's scorcher was clocked at 111 mph off the bat, his hardest hit ball of the year.
Price needed only 39 pitches the first four innings. He did not have a three-ball count on a batter until designated hitter Morales lined out on a full-count, seven-pitch at bat to lead off the fifth.
But in the seventh the Blue Jays' wheels fell off.
"I don't think that I struggled," Price said. "It's frustrating."
NOTES: DH Edwin Encarnacion was in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup, batting cleanup, after having a MRI exam of his injured middle left finger on Saturday. Manager John Gibbons said if it was a regular season game, Encarnacion would not be playing, "but we need him, so he's in there." ... Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost has not yet announced his Game 4 starter. "But I'll give you a hint, his first name is Chris," Yost said and laughed. The two candidates are RHPs Chris Young and Kris Medlen, who has not pitched since Oct. 1. ... Kansas City golfer Tom Watson, who won eight major championships, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... The three Blue Jays' hits in Friday's defeat were the fewest in postseason history by the club. ... Royals RHP Johnny Cueto and Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman are the pitching probables for Game 3 on Monday.
Top Game Performances
Team Stats Summary