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Welcome Back: Royals Headed To The World Series, Again

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KCUR 89.3
More than 40,000 fans watched the Royals beat the Blue Jays for a berth in the World Series.

This is not a dream. The Kansas City Royals are headed to the World Series for the second-straight year.

Kansas City eliminated the Toronto Blue Jays four games to two, after winning Game 6 by a score of 4-3 to take the American League pennant. The team will face the New York Mets for the Major League Baseball title.

The clinching win was anything but easy.

Up 3-1 in the eighth inning, the sellout crowd at Kauffman Stadium got a shock when Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista crushed a two-run homerun off reliever Ryan Madson to tie the game. Usually the ones to rally late, the Royals had the script flipped on them.

The gasping crowd almost sucked the air out the stadium. But Kansas City manager Ned Yost said the players didn’t panic.

“Our club does not mind being tied late,” Yost says. “Because they know our bullpen is strong. And They know our bullpen will hold the fort until we can score a run.”

Rain then delayed the game for 45 minutes.

When the tie game resumed, though, Kansas City didn’t waste any time.

Outfielder Lorenzo Cain drew a walk. But walking isn’t what Cain will be remembered for.

Eric Hosmer sliced a single to rightfield. Starting at first-base with no outs, and not in the middle of an attempt at a stolen base, most baserunners would be stranded at second- or could have made it to third-base if they were hustling hard from the get-go.

Cain scored on the play.

“My mindset is, ‘keep coming hard, keep coming hard,’” Cain says. “Keep going, continue to hustle.”

When he saw third-base coach Mike Jirschele windmilling his arms, signaling Cain to sprint home, Cain says he didn’t think twice.

“He tells us every time, come to third-base running hard because you never what’s going to happen,” Cain says.

In a surprise move, closer Wade Davis, who had pitched prior to the rain delay, came in to close out the game. With the pennant on the line, pitching in a strange situation, Davis had to balance his adrenaline with his control.

“Just try to stay relaxed and empty everything you’ve got,” Wade says. “Hopefully, you don’t have to play tomorrow.”

Royals starter Yordano Ventura pitched brilliantly into the sixth inning, surrendering one run and notching five strikeouts. With a man on second and one out, Yost went to his bullpen and Kelvin Herrera got out of the jam.

Ben Zobrist got the Royals scoring started with a solo homerun in the first inning.

Mike Moustakas followed it up with a controversial solo homerun of his own in the second inning after replay review ruled that the ball sailed over the wall, though a fan had reached over a metal guardrail in right-centerfield to catch the ball.

The Royals last took home baseball’s ultimate prize in 1985.

Game 1 of the World Series is Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.

Jeremy Bernfeld is the editor of Harvest Public Media, based at KCUR 89.3. Find him on Twitter @JeremyHPM.

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