BALTIMORE — Following another successful road show, the Royals are heading back to Kansas City with momentum and history on their side in the AL Championship Series.
Alcides Escobar doubled in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, Mike Moustakas extended his home run-binge and the Royals remained perfect in the playoffs, beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-4 Saturday for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven matchup.
Lorenzo Cain had four hits, scored twice and drove in a run for the wild-card Royals, who are 6-0 in the playoffs this year, including 4-0 on the road. Kansas City was 47-34 in away games during the regular season.
Moustakas homered for the fourth time in five games as the Royals won their ninth straight in the postseason, a string dating way back to the 1985 World Series.
Game 3 is Monday at Kauffman Stadium. Former Oriole Jeremy Guthrie will start for the Royals against either Wei-Yin Chen or Miguel Gonzalez.
Manager Buck Showalter’s team has lost two in a row at Camden Yards for the first time since June 28-29, and now the Orioles must buck history to earn its first pennant since 1983. No club has ever won a best-of-seven LCS after dropping the first two games at home.
After squeezing out an 8-6 win in 10 innings on Friday night, the Royals again took apart the Baltimore bullpen with a late uprising.
With the score tied at 4 in the ninth, Omar Infante beat out an infield roller off Darren O’Day, the losing pitching for the second straight day.
Zach Britton entered, and Moustakas laid down a bunt that moved pinch-runner Terrance Gore to second. Alcides then sliced an opposite-field grounder inside first base to bring home Gore.
Two batters later, Cain hit an RBI single.
For the second time in two games, Wade Davis earned the win and Greg Holland got three outs for the save. Holland struck out Steve Pearce with a runner on to end it.
Moustakas, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, hit a solo homer that put Kansas City up 4-3 in the fourth. Although he homered only once in the last 49 games of the regular season, Moustakas now stands tied with Willie Aikens for most homers by a Royals player in a single postseason.
Neither starter figured in the decision.
Baltimore’s Bud Norris allowed four runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings. Royals rookie Yordano Ventura left in the sixth with tightness in his right shoulder after giving up four runs and six hits.
Photo via H. Darr Beiser/USA TODAY Sports Images