This set of five Moments include a pair of bases-clearing two-out doubles, a bases-clearing one-out double which all but clinched a championship, a controversial home run that may or may not have been aided by a Royals fan, and – objectively speaking – the most pivotal out of the last two years. And we still have 25 Moments to go.
Moment #: 30
Date: October 5, 2014
Game: 2014 ALDS Game 3, vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Score: Los Angeles 1, Kansas City 0, Bottom of the 1st
Situation: Two outs, bases loaded
Matchup: Alex Gordon vs. C.J. Wilson
Result: Double, tying and two go-ahead runs score
Summary: Alex Gordon clears the bases with a 1st-inning two-out double, giving the Royals the lead on their way to sweeping the Angels out of the ALDS.
Link to video: Here.
MVP! MVP! MVP! (Sorry, having August flashbacks.)— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) October 5, 2014
The Royals led the 2014 ALDS 2 games to 0, but things can change quickly in a best-of-five series, and a single Angels victory would turn Game 4 into a near must-win game or face the specter of returning to Anaheim for a winner-take-all Game 5. And unlike the first two games, the Angels scored first in Game 3, when Mike Trout – who the Royals had handled beautifully all series – homered off of James Shields in the top of the 1st. But with one out in the bottom of the 1st, Nori Aoki and Lorenzo Cain singled with one out, and after Hosmer struck out on three pitches against C.J. Wilson, Billy Butler walked on four pitches to load the bases.
So Alex Gordon stepped in with the bases loaded and two outs, and on a 2-2 pitch Wilson threw an 83 mph slider down and away, except he didn’t get it down enough, and Gordon drove the pitch off the base of the wall in left-center field, clearing the bases. Butler chugged around all the way from first base – another smart read by Mike Jirschele – and slid stylishly into home just ahead of throw, pumping his fist as he got to his feet. The Royals had a lead they would not relinquish on their way to winning Game 3 and the series. How big a hit was it? It was the first hit to drive in three runners in a playoff game since Jim Sundberg’s bases-clearing triple in Toronto in Game 7 of the 1985 ALCS.