Monday, June 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Zobrist starts Royals rout of Blue Jays in Game 4 of ALCS

TORONTO — Ben Zobrist and the Royals showed they can play home run derby, too. With one more win, they'll have a chance to show off their power in a return trip to the World Series.

Zobrist, the former Rays All-Star, hit a two-run homer on knuckleballer R.A. Dickey's fourth pitch of the game, Alex Rios connected an inning later and Kansas City romped past the Blue Jays 14-2 Tuesday for a 3-1 lead in the American League Championship Series.

Lorenzo Cain scored on a passed ball and Mike Moustakas had a sacrifice fly in an LCS-record four-run top of the first.

"We're a good offensive team," Eric Hosmer said. "Our park, our style of play is a little different. We like to use our legs and be athletic, but when we come to some of these parks where the fences aren't as deep we've got some guys that can put the ball in the seats."

Alcides Escobar had four RBIs and Cain three as the Royals bounced back from an 11-8 loss. Kansas City led 5-2 in the seventh before breaking away.

Kansas City can win the pennant today, when Edinson Volquez starts against Toronto's Marco Estrada in a Game 1 rematch.

"It's a do-or-die game for us," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "But they do it all year. I think these guys will let this one go and they'll show up to play (today). … I know these guys will be ready."

After flashing power to build a 5-0 lead on the long ball, the Royals returned to their pesky ways late in the game against the Blue Jays' struggling bullpen. They scored nine with three more sacrifice flies, a barrage of slashing hits and heads-up baserunning.

"We were really focused on being productive collectively," Rios said. "And I guess we're doing a pretty good job of doing that."

Blue Jays fans had seen enough after Cain's two-run single in the eighth, turning their cheers to jeers when Mark Lowe replaced Ryan Tepera.

The 36-year-old Chris Young bested Dickey, 40, in a bookish matchup of veteran starters. Only the pairing of the Yankees' Randy Johnson (then 43) and Detroit's Kenny Rogers (41) in the 2006 ALDS tops the duo for combined age.

But like Dickey in Game 4 of the Division Series against Texas, the 6-foot-10 Young was lifted one out shy of qualifying for a victory when Ned Yost went to his bullpen with a runner on first with two outs in the fifth. Yost wasn't willing to take chances against Josh Donaldson, who already had an RBI double.

Dickey never had a chance to get that first playoff victory in a 13-year big-league career.

Escobar led off with a bunt single down the third-base line. Zobrist connected for his first homer of the ALCS.

Rios homered against his former team in the second for a 5-0 lead. After Dickey hit Escobar with a pitch, he walked Cain one out later and was done after 12/3 innings.

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