ANAHEIM California (Reuters) - Eric Hosmer belted a two-run homer in the top of the 11th inning to ensure the Kansas City Royals’ fairytale playoff run continued with a 4-1 Game Two win over the power-packed Los Angeles Angels on Friday.
The Royals, in the post-season for the first time since 1985, prevailed in their third consecutive extra innings contest of the post-season to forge a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series.
The second home defeat in a row leaves Major League Baseball’s best regular season team teetering on the brink of elimination from a series they were expected to win comfortably.
Echoing Thursday’s Game One, an 11th inning home run was the difference after Kansas City had also beat the Oakland A’s in their one-off wild card game in 12 innings on Tuesday.
With the teams locked at 1-1 Lorenzo Cain singled with one out in the 11th before Hosmer sent a Kevin Jepsen pitch over right field.
“I was trying not to get beat right there. He beat me yesterday with a couple of fast balls, I was a little late, and he was getting ahead of a lot of guys there early, so I was just looking for a good pitch, trying to get on time and not miss it,” Hosmer said in a post-game interview.
”Hats off to our bullpen they kept us in it the whole time and gave us a chance to have that big hit there at the end.
“We’re going to try to figure out a way in nine next time but we will take a win anyway we can get it.”
After the homer had opened a 3-1 Royals lead, catcher Salvador Perez, who had earlier been bashed in the head by the recoil of a stray Josh Hamilton swing, then punched an RBI single to score Alex Gordon for an insurance run.
Greg Holland then completed the save by striking out MVP favorite Mike Trout.
The Angels, who were 98-64 in the regular season, trailed 1-0 from the second inning when Kosmer scored from an Alex Gordon single.
Albert Pujols tied the score with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth and the teams stayed locked until the 11th.
The Angels looked set to even the series when CJ Cron pumped a stand-up double to open the eighth but Jarrod Dyson produced a stellar double-play for the Royals, catching Chris Iannetta in center field before throwing a bullet to third to get the leadoff runner.
“That’s huge. That changes momentum, that changes everything in the game right there, that’s a big time play,” Kosmer said.
Game Three is in Kansas City on Sunday where a Royals victory would earn them an American League Championship Series showdown against either the Baltimore Orioles or Detroit Tigers.
Writing by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien