By Jeffrey Flanagan and Brian McTaggart
HOUSTON -- The Royals pulled off a stunning comeback on Monday afternoon, charging from four runs down by scoring five times in the eighth inning to shock the Astros, 9-6, and even the best-of-five American League Division Series at two games apiece.
Minute Maid Park was rocking after the Astros scored three times in the seventh to take a 6-2 lead on a two-run homer by rookie shortstop Carlos Correa -- his second of the game -- and a solo shot by Colby Rasmus. Things changed quickly.
HOUSTON -- Just when reasonable people might have believed that the season of the Kansas City Royals was over, kaput, history, down and done, the Royals rose up and proved that you can never depend on them to lose.
These guys specialize in the October postseason comeback from a late four-run deficit in elimination games. They did it against the Oakland Athletics in the 2014 American League Wild Card Game. And they did it again Monday afternoon at Minute Maid Park in what could have been the final game of their AL Division Series against the Houston Astros.
HOUSTON -- Keep the line moving. It's a well-worn phrase used by teams when describing rallies that involve hit after hit after hit after hit, usually resulting in a win.
That's what the Royals did against the Astros in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the American League Division Series on Monday afternoon, and it's what led to them winning, 9-6, instead of losing by four, to send the series back to Kansas City for a decisive Game 5 on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
HOUSTON -- With a transformational eighth inning in Game 4 on Monday afternoon, the Kansas City Royals have changed the nature and very possibly the outcome of their American League Division Series against the Houston Astros.
The Royals saved their postseason with the 9-6 victory in Game 4. Now, with the series tied, both teams will try to advance to the AL Championship Series with a victory in Game 5.
HOUSTON -- After coming over from the Reds as one of the highest-profile acquisitions before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, ace Johnny Cueto went through an uncharacteristically uneven second half with the Royals.
But Cueto has the chance to make up for it and more, as he's set to start Kansas City's biggest game of the season to this point, against the Astros in the deciding Game 5 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
KANSAS CITY -- It started with a belief from third baseman Mike Moustakas that the series wasn't over yet and that the Royals would be heading home to Kauffman Stadium for Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Astros.
Despite the fact that the Royals were down by four runs in the eighth, Moustakas rallied his teammates, much like Raul Ibanez did last year, when they overcame the same deficit against the A's in the eighth inning of the AL Wild Card Game en route to their unforgettable run to the World Series. Moustakas told his teammates they weren't done yet, and he proved to be correct, as they rallied back with a stunning 9-6 win over the Astros on Monday afternoon to even the series at 2.
HOUSTON -- They say winning cures all, but even if that is the case, Royals catcher Salvador Perez could probably stand to benefit from an off-day before Game 5 of the best-of-five American League Division Series on Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1) at Kauffman Stadium.
Perez was all smiles after his team's 9-6 win over the Astros in Game 4 on Monday afternoon, and he brushed off any notion of lingering effects from the Lance McCullers fastball that hit him in his ribs in the seventh or the foul ball that bounced off his face while he was catching in the sixth. (This all happened about 15 hours after he was involved in a minor fender-bender while taking an Uber ride to a Venezuelan food truck for dinner.)
HOUSTON -- Obviously the Royals' remarkable five-run rally in the eighth inning to earn a 9-6 win over the Astros on Monday afternoon in Game 4 of the best-of-five American League Division Series is a huge story.
But it would have been characterized as just a gallant effort if Royals closer Wade Davis hadn't stepped up for a six-out save through the teeth of the Astros' lineup. It was the first six-out save in the ALDS since Mariano Rivera did it in 2005.
HOUSTON -- So the Royals have forced a decisive Game 5 in the American League Division Series against the Astros, and they will have their hometown fans at Kauffman Stadium screaming and urging them on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
But the Royals also will have some history on their side -- they now have won nine of their past 10 elimination games, including two last season and one on Monday afternoon, a thrilling 9-6 come-from-behind victory in Game 4 at Minute Maid Park.
Down 6-2, Kansas City scores 5 against Houston's bullpen
By Jeffrey Flanagan
HOUSTON -- The situation was grim, with the Astros having piled on three runs off reliever Ryan Madson in the bottom of the seventh to push the lead to a seemingly insurmountable four-run advantage on Monday afternoon.
That's when the Royals' dugout got loud. First it was third baseman Mike Moustakas who began chirping, "We are not going to lose this game! We've worked too hard!" And with that, a five-run eighth erased the deficit en route to a 9-6 win in Game 4 to even the best-of-five American League Division Series.
HOUSTON -- The Royals rallied from a four-run deficit against a shaky Astros bullpen on Monday, scoring five eighth-inning runs to stave off elimination with a 9-6 win in Game 4 and shift the American League Division Series back to Kansas City for a decisive Game 5.
HOUSTON -- Controversy spilled into Game 4 of the American League Division Series in Houston on Monday afternoon, though by day's end, it was downplayed by the final outcome.
Before the Royals staged an improbable eighth-inning comeback over the host Astros in a wild 9-6 victory, they witnessed their potential tying run disappear from third base on an overturned call to end the seventh inning.
HOUSTON -- Royals catcher Salvador Perez was involved in a minor car accident while traveling to visit a Venezuelan food truck following Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Astros in Game 3 of the American League Division Series.
There were no injuries, according to Perez's agent, Rafa Nieves, who was riding with Perez. Perez was in the starting lineup in for Game 4, and the catcher belted a two-run homer in the second inning during his club's 9-6 victory.
HOUSTON -- Royals manager Ned Yost has talked often about how from September through October last year, he simply couldn't sleep more than a few hours every night.
This year had been much different, Yost said, because his team cruised to the American League Central title without much stress. He slept like "normal people." But all that changed after Sunday's loss to the Astros, which put the Royals on the brink of elimination from the AL Division Series.
HOUSTON -- The Royals are at the brink of postseason elimination. Counting them out now might seem superficially easy. But it would also be seriously foolish.
The Astros took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series on Sunday with a 4-2 victory over the Royals at Minute Maid Park. Houston can close out the series with a Game 4 win Monday (1 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1).
By Brian McTaggart and Jeffrey Flanagan
HOUSTON -- Ace lefty Dallas Keuchel turned in another fantastic effort before the home crowd, rejuvenated slugger Chris Carter bashed a home run and Minute Maid Park was rocking. It's becoming a way of life for the Astros.
Keuchel held the Royals to one run in seven innings, and Carter had three hits, including his first postseason home run, to lift the Astros to a 4-2 win before a raucous crowd of 42,674 in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Sunday afternoon.
Kansas City leaves 10 runners on, struggles with RISP in Game 3
By Jeffrey Flanagan
HOUSTON -- Time after time, the Royals appeared ready to pop the game wide open against Astros ace Dallas Keuchel. But time after time, Keuchel responded, and Kansas City didn't.
The Royals left 10 runners on base, and the team went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Those statistics, far more than its pitching, explained why Kansas City fell to Houston, 4-2, in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Sunday. The Royals face an elimination game on Monday at 1 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.
HOUSTON -- With the way right-hander Edinson Volquez was pitching early, Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain was hoping that his fourth-inning homer off Astros ace Dallas Keuchel would be enough in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Sunday.
Ultimately, though, Houston was able to rally in the fifth to take the lead in an eventual 4-2 loss for Kansas City, and Cain's solo shot did not become a difference-maker.
HOUSTON -- Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez cruised through four innings on Sunday, keeping pace with Astros ace Dallas Keuchel in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, a 4-2 loss for Kansas City.
Volquez had allowed just one hit with six strikeouts to that point, and Chris Carter had been thrown out on that one hit by left fielder Alex Gordon as he tried to stretch a single into a double in the third.
HOUSTON -- Dallas Keuchel ran his unblemished home record to 16-0, and the Astros got timely hits from veterans Jason Castro and Chris Carter to inch one win away from the American League Championship Series with a 4-2 win against the Royals in Game 3 on Sunday.
Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Center stage: Statcast tracks Gomez, Pillar, Cain
By Andrew Simon
Sunday was a good day to be a center fielder.
Across two American League Division Series contests, three center fielders produced impressive plays, two with the glove and one with the bat. Statcast™ was there to track all three and provide a data-driven look at how they happened.
Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Morales finds perfect home with Royals
After overcoming 2010 ankle injury, DH swinging with success
By Jesse Sanchez
KANSAS CITY -- Kendrys Morales' jewelry glistened as he made his way toward the clubhouse door after Wednesday's workout at Kauffman Stadium. He walked proud with his head held high, wearing dark designer jeans and a designer T-shirt that were impossible to ignore.
Pitcher Franklin Morales, whose locker is nearby, put his palm out and stopped his buddy in his tracks.
HOUSTON -- Major League Baseball, once flush with star Puerto Rican players, is working to rejuvenate that talent pool once again.
That's good news to two players currently involved in the American League Division Series -- Royals outfielder Alex Rios and Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. They represent top talent hailing from Puerto Rico, Rios coming into his own as a Major Leaguer when the pipeline was dwindling, and Correa emerging among a growing group of players from the northeastern Caribbean island as some of the top stars in the game.
KANSAS CITY -- When the Royals acquired Ben Zobrist in a trade with the A's on July 26, they initially used him like a Swiss-army knife, as the versatile veteran saw time in left field, right field, third base and second base before he finally took over as the club's primary second baseman for Omar Infante in early September.
Zobrist made a major impact for the Royals down the stretch, hitting .284/.364/.453 with seven homers and 23 RBIs in 59 games after the trade. And he's carried it over into the postseason, going 4-for-8, including the go-ahead RBI single in a crucial 5-4 win over the Astros in Game 2 of the American League Division Series on Friday.