Fallen Angels stare into abyss, Dodgers rocked

Sat Oct 4, 2014 2:49am EDT
 
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(Reuters) - The top-seeded Los Angeles Angels were pushed to the brink of postseason elimination by the surprising Kansas City Royals on Friday and the St Louis Cardinals launched an eight-run salvo to stun the LA Dodgers in a packed day of playoff action.

In other games, Baltimore piled more late misery on the Detroit Tigers to take a 2-0 lead in their AL Division series while Jake Peavy shut down the Washington Nationals to give the San Francisco Giants an NL-record ninth consecutive playoff win.

In a day highlighted by stunning comebacks, the Cardinals rallied to take down Clayton Kershaw, considered the best pitcher in the league, for a shocking 10-9 road win while Baltimore struck late for a 7-6 victory over the Tigers.

Elsewhere, Eric Hosmer belted a two-run homer in the top of the 11th to ensure the Royals' fairytale playoff run continued with a 4-1 Game Two win over the Angels.

The Royals, in the post-season for the first time since 1985, prevailed in their third extra innings contest of the post-season and took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series.

They beat the A's in the wild card game in 12 innings on Tuesday and the Angels in 11 frames two days later before prevailing in extra innings once again.

While it was a shock result, perhaps the biggest surprise was at Dodgers Stadium where a pitching duel was expected between Kershaw and Adam Wainwright but a run-fest erupted in their National League Division Series opener.

Kershaw, who entered the game with a 21-3 record and a 1.77 earned run average, had held the Cards to two hits -- a pair of solo home runs -- as the Dodgers carried a 6-2 lead off Wainwright into the seventh.

  Continued...

 
Oct 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) reacts after striking out in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in game one of the 2014 NLDS playoff baseball game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports