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Bring On The Jays: Royals Move On To ALCS

Jeremy Bernfeld
KCUR 89.3
A sellout crowd at Kauffman Stadium watched the Royals punch their ticket to the American League Championship Series.

It just seems the Royals wouldn’t have it any other way. And now they’re headed to the American League Championship Series.

Kansas City defeated the Houston Astros Wednesday to win the decisive game in their best-of-five series.

Down in a two-run hole, the Royals rallied in a three-run fifth inning to go up 4-2 and take a lead they’d never give back.

The Toronto Blue Jays, who beat the Texas Rangers to advance Wednesday, are next up for Kansas City.

The story of the night: Royals starting pitcher Johnny Cueto.

Cueto entered the game to questions and left it with answers.

One of the game’s top pitchers in recent years, he had disappointed since the Royals traded for him in July. Wednesday night, though, Cueto came through with a sterling start for the team when they needed him most.

Ultimately, Cueto went 8 innings with 8 strikeouts and gave up just a two-run homerun to Houston third-baseman Luis Valbuena. It was one of the few mistakes Cueto made on an ascendant night.

Royals second-baseman Ben Zobrist said the team fed off of Cueto’s dominance.

“For him to come in, in the biggest game of the season and execute the pitches he wanted to,” Zobrist says, “it’s huge for him, it’s huge for the team and you can’t say enough about it.”

From the start, the sell-out crowd at Kauffman Stadium was vocal. Right-fielder Alex Gordon said he could hear the fans throughout.

“Tonight was more special than any other night all year,” Gordon says. “They were some kind of amped up. I don’t know if it was the comeback in Game 4, but they really gave us a lot of energy tonight.”

ALCS Game 1 is set for a 7:07 p.m. first pitch at Kauffman Stadium on Friday.

Jeremy Bernfeld is the editor of KCUR's Harvest Public Media. Find him on Twitter @JeremyHPM.

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