The Latest: Volquez pitches Royals to Game 1 win over Jays
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The latest on the American League Championship Series between the Blue Jays and Royals, which began Friday night in Kansas City (all times local):
Edinson Volquez gave the Blue Jays another reason to rue him Friday night.
The Royals right-hander combined with three relievers on a three-hitter, Salvador Perez hit a soaring home run off Toronto starter Marco Estrada and Kansas City rolled to a 5-0 victory in Game 1 of their American League Championship Series.
Volquez (1-1) ramped up his fastball to 97 mph to slice through a potent Blue Jays offense, never allowing a runner past second base. His only trouble occurred when he walked the first two batters in the sixth, but he bounced back to strike out Troy Tulowitzki and escape it.
The Royals’ bullpen finished off the club’s eighth consecutive ALCS victory.
Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain also drove in runs off Estrada (1-1), while Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales tacked on two more off LaTroy Hawkins to put the game away.
The Blue Jays’ seven hits were their fewest ever in a postseason game.
Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion exited in the eighth inning to undergo X-rays on the middle finger of his left hand.
Edinson Volquez gave the Kansas City Royals exactly what they wanted.
The veteran pitcher weaved through trouble for six innings against the Blue Jays in Game 1, allowing two walks and four hits but no runs as Kansas City took a 3-0 lead into the final three innings against Toronto.
Volquez breezed through the first five frames, but needed 27 pitches to get through the sixth. He walked the first two batters he faced and had four full counts, but finally got Troy Tulowitzki on a strikeout looking to end the threat.
The Royals, who scored two runs in the third, added to their lead on Salvador Perez’s third homer of the postseason. His first-pitch shot off Marco Estrada with two outs in the fourth gave Volquez a bit of a cushion.
The Royals are playing from ahead in the postseason for a change.
Alcides Escobar hit an RBI double and Lorenzo Cain a run-scoring single to give Kansas City a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Blue Jays after three innings in Game 1.
Escobar already has a pair of doubles off Marco Estrada, who got the starting nod for Toronto over former Cy Young winner and Game 2 starter David Price.
The only baserunners that the Royals’ Edinson Volquez has allowed came when Jose Bautista walked in the first inning and Kevin Pillar walked in the third.
Bautista was left stranded on first. Pillar was bunted to second but left there when Ben Revere flew out to center and Josh Donaldson – who had a dustup with Volquez during the regular season – grounded out to shortstop.
Flags were at half-staff at Kauffman Stadium to honor fallen Kansas City firefighters when the Royals’ Edinson Volquez delivered his first pitch to the Blue Jays’ Ben Revere to start Game 1 of their AL Championship Series.
The Royals have been memorializing Kansas City firefighters Larry Leggio and John Mesh, who were killed while responding to an apartment building fire this week.
Two other firefighters were hurt when the building collapsed late Monday, though both are expected to be fine. There were no serious injuries among the building’s residents.
Members of the Royals wore T-shirts and hats honoring the Kansas City Fire Department during batting practice before their Game 5 victory over Houston in the divisional round.
The Royals are sticking with the same lineup they used against Houston in the divisional round, which means Alcides Escobar leading off for Game 1 of the ALCS.
Ben Zobrist, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales are next, with Sal Perez, Alex Gordon and Alex Rios at the bottom of the order.
Royals manager Ned Yost put Escobar back in the leadoff spot late in the season, even though his lousy on-base percentage means the move goes against conventional wisdom.
Kansas City has been winning ever since.
Toronto manager John Gibbons also stuck with his typical order with Ben Revere at the top, followed by Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion.
Chris Colabello got the nod at first base over Justin Smoak, with Troy Tulowitzki, Dioner Navarro, Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins at the bottom of the Blue Jays lineup.
There was some thought that David Price would start Game 1 of the ALCS for Toronto, but manager John Gibbons went with Marco Estrada on regular rest instead.
That’s led to another round of questions about how Price has been used.
The former Cy Young winner has a shaky playoff record, and wasn’t particularly good in his start against the Rangers. So rather than rest him to start a potential ALCS opener, Gibbons used him in a 50-pitch relief stint that made him unavailable for Friday night.
Price is scheduled to pitch Game 2 against Kansas City on Saturday.
Gibbons said it was simply a matter of circumstances, and while he acknowledged Price pitched longer than most people thought he would, ”that was a little bit of strategy, too.”
Asked about the way he’d been used, Price replied: ”It doesn’t matter. Whatever the team wants me to do to help them win. I’m all about it.”
Royals manager Ned Yost wishes he had listened a bit more to John Gibbons when his Toronto counterpart was on his staff a few years ago.
Maybe he’d have learned something to help the Royals in the ALCS.
After Gibbons was fired by the Blue Jays in 2008 in his first go-around as their manager, he was hired that October by then-Royals manager Trey Hillman as a bench coach. Gibbons stuck around when Hillman was fired in May 2010, working for Yost through the 2011 season.
Asked about those years together, Yost acknowledged before Game 1 on Friday: ”I didn’t take full advantage of Gibby when he was here. At the time I was still a little on the hard-headed side and managed the game all by myself.”
Gibbons said he harbors no ill will over their time together.