Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 ALDS: Royals vs Orioles, Game 1

Tues Oct 6, 2009, 6:15pm: Today, the Royals are all anyone is talking about in Kansas City. That's because today, it's playoff baseball for the first time since 1985. Today, it's the Royals vs. the Orioles in Game 1 of the ALDS.

On the mound today, it's Chad Billingsley for the Royals and Rich Hill for the Orioles. A chill is in the air with early fall time temperatures in KC - 46 degrees at gametime - but the Royals hope to give the city something to celebrate later on tonight.

It's been a true team effort this year in KC - especially in the month of September, with 5 starters batting above .290 and a lot of clutch late inning RBIs as the Royals compensated for some ill-timed injuries to 3B Alex Gordon and SS Mike Aviles in the last weeks of the season. The Royals rotation also proved effective in September, with the 1-2 punch of Billingsley and Greinke going 9-0 as the Royals won 21 of their final 31 in Sept-Oct to finish atop the wild card standings in the American League.

The Royals emerged victorious from a 4 way pennant race with 3 powerhouse clubs from the AL East. The Royals, back to full strength now, will trying to finish off the other survivor - the Orioles - this week in the best of 5 series.

9:40pm: Despite giving up two early home runs accounting for all 3 of the Baltimore runs, the KC pitching staff has been quite stingy so far - allowing only 1 hit since Markakas' 2 run shot in the 3rd off Billingsley.

The Royals offense has done a bit better, collecting 7 hits - but the result is the same as we enter the 9th inning with the score tied 3-3.

9:55pm: A leadoff walk quickly becomes moot as Jason Motte finishes off the Orioles on 9 pitches in the top of the 9th.

10:10pm: It's the bottom of the 9th, and Alex Gordon has just struck out looking. Next up, Mike Aviles.

10:14pm: Aviles lines a shot down the third base line - but settles at 2nd. Corey Wimberly comes on to run and the fans are on their feet and screaming.

10:18pm: 1 on, 1 out - drama here in the bottom of the 9th. Up next is Miguel Olivo. The 2-2 count... crushed!! Out to left field and deep... and the Royals win it! A walk-off home run for Olivo, and the Royals fans are living it up! The first playoff victory in 24 years, here at the K... what a night!

Here's how that 9th inning played out:
Bottom of the 9th - Kansas City Royals batting - Pitching for Baltimore Orioles : LHP G. Sherrill
Now at 3B: M. Mora
Batting: LHB A. Gordon 0-0: Ball
1-0: Ball
2-0: Called Strike
2-1: Called Strike
2-2: Strikes out looking
Batting: RHB M. Aviles 0-0: Ball
1-0: Foul Ball, location: 2F
1-1: Ball
2-1: Ball
3-1: DOUBLE (Line Drive, 5L)
Pinch Runner at 2ndC. Wimberly:
Batting: RHB M. Olivo 0-0: Swinging Strike
0-1: Ball
1-1: Called Strike
1-2: Ball
2-2: 2-RUN HOME RUN (Flyball, 7D), Distance : 395 ft
Game Over ... Kansas City defeats Baltimore, 5 to 3