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Kansas City Royals keep bashing, take 3-1 lead in ALCS

By
Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
Kansas City Royals Eric Hosmer (L), Jose Bautista, and Ben Zobrist (18) high five each other after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS game 4 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada on October 20, 2015. Kansas City beat Toronto 14-2 to take a 3-1 series lead. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Kansas City Royals Eric Hosmer (L), Jose Bautista, and Ben Zobrist (18) high five each other after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS game 4 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada on October 20, 2015. Kansas City beat Toronto 14-2 to take a 3-1 series lead. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

TORONTO -- The Kansas City Royals put a 15-hit barrage on the Toronto Blue Jays for the second game in a row Tuesday.

This time they won, 14-2, to take a three-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series.

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Kansas City could clinch a World Series berth on Wednesday at Rogers Centre.

"We feel good, we like the way we're playing right now," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Our offense has been really, really good."

Second baseman Ben Zobrist hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and right fielder Alex Rios added a solo shot in the second to give the Royals an early lead against Blue Jays right-hander R.A. Dickey.

The Royals also had 15 hits in Game 3 on Monday, but their late rally fell short and they lost 11-8.

This time they scored five runs (four earned) on four hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings to chase Dickey (0-1).

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"In my first inning, I had trouble arresting the damage," Dickey said. "Sometimes it's hard when you put your team in a hole, especially (against) a playoff-caliber team. They kept tacking on. They kept hitting, they kept hitting."

Kansas City put the game away with a four-run seventh and added three in the eighth and two in the ninth.

"There's no doubt it's a big challenge," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It's a do-or-die game (Wednesday). I think these guys will let this one go, and they'll show up to play tomorrow."

Gibbons brought in infielder Cliff Pennington to pitch with two outs in the ninth. Pennington allowed a single to right fielder Paulo Orlando and a two-run single by shortstop Alcides Escobar, who had four RBIs.

The ninth ended when Zobrist fouled out to the catcher.

"I was impressed, he has good stuff," Toronto catcher Russell Martin said.

The bullpen was short because left-hander Aaron Loup was called away for a personal family matter for the second time this postseason.

"He got a call and he had to head to the airport and head home," Gibbons said. "We were in a bind."

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Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain went 2-for-3 with two walks and three RBIs to extend his team-record postseason hitting streak to 13 games. Rios finished with three hits.

Kansas City right-hander Chris Young did not stay around long enough to earn the win.

He was lifted for right-hander Luke Hochevar (1-0) with a 5-2 lead and two outs in the fifth after giving up a single to left fielder Ben Revere.

Hochevar ended the inning on a foulout to first by third baseman Josh Donaldson.

Young allowed two runs, three hits and two walks and struck out four.

"Chris Young threw the ball great," Yost said. "We got to the fifth there and my mindset was with Donaldson, (right fielder Jose) Bautista, those guys, I really didn't want them seeing Chris for the third time."

The Royals pounced on Dickey for four first-inning runs, two on a home run by Zobrist after Escobar led off with a bunt single.

The knuckleballer walked Cain, who stole second, took third on a single by first baseman Eric Hosmer and scored on a passed ball. A groundout moved Hosmer to third, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Mike Moustakas.

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Rios' homer with one out in the second increased the lead to 5-0.

"We were really focused on being productive collectively," said Rios, a former Blue Jay. "And I guess we're doing a pretty good job of doing it. Defensively, we've been good. Offensively, we've been even better, so that's what we've been focusing on."

Royals right-hander Liam Hendriks took over with two outs in the second after Dickey hit Escobar with a pitch and walked Cain. Escobar was picked off second to end the inning.

The Blue Jays scored twice in the third. Second baseman Ryan Goins singled, Revere walked and Donaldson hit an RBI ground-rule double. Bautista's groundout to second scored the other run.

Hendriks allowed one hit in 4 1/3 scoreless innings before right-hander LaTroy Hawkins took over in the seventh and could not retire a batter.

A leadoff walk to catcher Salvador Perez and singles by left fielder Alex Gordon and Rios loaded the bases before right-hander Ryan Tepera replaced Hawkins. Orlando entered the game as a pinch runner for Rios.

Escobar hit a sacrifice fly to the warning track in center. A wild pitch scored another run, Cain hit an RBI single, and Hosmer hit a sacrifice fly.

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Escobar hit his second sacrifice fly of the game in the eighth after the Royals loaded the bases on Tepera. Cain hit a two-run single before Tepera was replaced by right-hander Mark Lowe, who pitched one inning before Pennington took over.

NOTES: The Blue Jays' Game 3 win on Monday ended the Royals' nine-game AL Championship Series winning streak, one short of the record held by the Baltimore Orioles. ... The Royals had 15 hits Monday in an 11-8 loss to Toronto, the second time a team lost in the ALCS with 15 or more hits. The Boston Red Sox had 15 hits in a 19-8 defeat to the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS. In postseason history, a team lost with 15 or more hits 10 times. ... First-game loser Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.13 ERA regular season; 1-1, 3.09 postseason) will start Game 5 for the Blue Jays on Wednesday. First-game winner Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 regular season; 1-1, 2.31 postseason) gets the call for Kansas City.

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