(The Sports Xchange) - The Kansas City Royals pulled off a feat of remarkable daring in the 2014 American League Wild Card game.
And what they did on Monday was remarkably similar as they again overcame a four-run deficit to stave off elimination against Houston and send the AL Division Series back to Kansas City for a decisive fifth game.
Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon plated the go-ahead run with a groundout to cap a stunning five-run, eighth-inning rally in the Royals’ 9-6 victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
While Gordon pushed the Royals in front with his RBI groundout off Astros closer Luke Gregerson, he merely put the bow on a breathtaking display of plate discipline. The first five Royals batters recorded singles in the 53-pitch eighth.
Last postseason, the Royals rallied from a four-run deficit to eliminate the Oakland Athletics en route to the AL pennant.
Eric Hosmer, who entered the eighth batting .067 (1-for-15) in the ALDS, added a two-run homer in the ninth off right-hander Josh Fields.
Hosmer scored the winning run when Gordon delivered with two outs an inning earlier and was quick to note the number of contributors in the turnaround frame, including backup catcher Drew Butera, who worked a 10-pitch walk off Gregerson to set the table for Gordon. All told, six Royals came to the plate before the Astros recorded an out.
Royals right-hander Wade Davis slammed the door with two scoreless innings of relief.
The Astros slugged a pair of home runs to turn a 3-2 lead into a four-run cushion in the bottom of the seventh.
Carlos Correa, at 21 years and 20 days old, became the youngest player in American League history to record a multi-homer game in the postseason, adding a two-run blast off Royals right-hander Ryan Madson (1-0) to his solo shot off right-hander Yordano Ventura in the third.
Colby Rasmus followed with a solo shot, his fourth of the postseason, to nudge the Astros six outs away from the AL Championship Series.
Correa added a leadoff single in the ninth and finished 4-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored.
Astros rookie right-hander Lance McCullers was sharp in his postseason debut, limiting the Royals to two runs on two hits (including a two-run home run by Royals catcher Salvador Perez in the second inning) and two walks with seven strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.
But the Astros’ bullpen collapse turned the Astros from presumed series victors to needing another road win to keep their season alive.
“We got a pretty good team, we got a good resilient group,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
“We have youth on our side, we’ll have a ton of energy and we’ll show up ready to play.”
Game Five is in Kansas City on Wednesday.
Editing by Andrew Both