Alex Gordon last homered on September 2nd. It could be said that he was due.
Gordon hit a dramatic, go-ahead solo home run in the 10th inning, and the Kansas City Royals defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 8-6, in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
Both clubs sent their aces to the mound, and it appeared that the game was headed for a low-scoring pitchers duel. Both teams were held scoreless in the third inning.
In the third, Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar, who hit three home runs in the regular season, socked a homer off of Orioles starter Chris Tillman to the left field stands to give the Royals a 1-0 lead.
The Royals continued the assault on Tillman, loading the bases with two outs. Royals slugger Alex Gordon busted his bat on a right field flair that landed fair in the right field corner. Lorenzo Cain, Nori Aoki, and Billy Butler scored on the play, and the Royals led 4-0.
Royals starter James Shields did a good job minimizing the damage in the early innings, but Adam Jones put the Orioles on the board with an RBI single.
Baltimore trailed 5-1 in the fifth inning when they started to make a move on "Big Game James." Nick Markakis and Alejandro De Aza opened the inning with back-to-back singles. After an Adam Jones ground out, powerful Nelson Cruz banged a two-run double into left to get Baltimore back in the game. Baltimore scored another run in the inning on an RBI single by Ryan Flaherty to pull within a run.
With the score 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth, Baltimore put together another rally against Shields. Baltimore got the first two runners of the inning on with a walk to Jonathan Schoop and a single by Nick Markakis. Schoop, who was on second, was caught wandering off the base. Royals catcher Salvador Perez fired a throw to Alcides Escobar, who snapped a throw to third. The throw hit Schoop in the back, and he took third on a stolen base.
The next batter, De Aza, hit a flair in the infield that Escobar could not catch. It dropped for an infield single, and the game was tied at 5.
Kansas City wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead in the top of the ninth, when they were the recipients of Zach Britton's wildness. Britton walked the first three batters he faced, throwing 13 straight balls at one point. He wiggled out of danger by getting Eric Hosmer to ground out. On the play, Orioles first baseman threw home and Nick Hundley made a spectacular play by scooping the low-throw out of the dirt. The next hitter, Billy Butler, grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Wade Davis held the Orioles scoreless in the bottom of the ninth, and the Royals were headed to their 4th extra inning game in the playoffs.
Alex Gordon led off the 10th with a solo homer to right field to give Kansas City a 6-5 lead. A few batters later, Mike Moustakas slammed a two-run shot to put the Royals up by three.
In the bottom of the frame, the Royals brought in star closer Greg Holland to slam the door.
After retiring the first two batters of the inning, the Orioles started to rally. Ryan Flaherty punched a single to right and pinch-hitter Jimmy Paredes walked. Delmon Young followed with a pinch-hit single, and the Orioles pulled within 8-6. Holland was able to retire Markakis on a grounder, and Kansas City escaped with an 8-6 win in Game One.
The Royals are now 5-0 in the playoffs, with four of the wins coming in extra innings.