Royals Rally In Game 2 To Tie Series

After a debilitating defeat in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday, the Kansas City Royals rallied to tie it at 1-1 with a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros at Kauffmann Stadium on Friday.

The Royals were in danger of being sent to the brink of elimination after the Astros kicked off the series in fine form with a 5-2 win and looked set to continue in a similar fashion at the start of Game 2.

Colby Rasmus drove in the opening RBI with a line-drive double off Johnny Cueto in the first inning with two out.

The Astros then soared into a three run lead as Chris Carter and Jason Castro made it home off a George Springer single in the second inning.

Salvador Perez pulled one run back for the Royals with a home-run to left field off Scott Kazmir in the bottom of the second, but Rasmus replied with a homer of his own in the next inning.

Ben Zobrist then grounded out into a double play as he was caught by Luis Valbuena before Alcides Escobar was tagged out at second. In the midst of the play, though, Alex Rios made it to home plate to add another run to the board for Kansas City.

What had been a pulsating encounter, settled into a lull for several innings as the Cueto and Kazmir did their work on the mound.

The Astros then made two pitching changes in the sixth inning, bringing in Oliver Perez, who gave up one run off an Eric Hosmer line-drive single, before being replaced by Josh Fields.

Fields didn't fare much better, handing the Royals the tying run after walking Salvador Perez with the bases loaded.

Fields too was replaced and the Royals took full advantage in the seventh as Zobrist scored Escobar with a single off Will Harris to put the hosts ahead.

There was to be some late drama, however, as the Kansas City benefited from a replay challenge in the ninth inning after pinch-runner Carlos Gomez was ruled safe after Royals reliever Wade Davis tried to pick him off at first.

The Royals bench challenged the play and umpires overturned the on-field call, with replays showing first-baseman Hosmer had just about tagged Gomez before he touched the bag.

Both sides have the day off on Sunday before returning to action in Game 3 on Sunday at Minute Maid Park. The Astros will hope to capitalise on left-hander Dallas Kuechel's impervious home record against Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez.

Elsewhere, the two National League Division Series tipped off as the St Louis Cardinals continued their form with a 4-0 win over Wild Card Game winners the Chicago Cubs.

On the back of John Lackey's solid pitching, Matt Holiday got the Cards early on before rookies Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty homered in the eighth.

In the other NLDS Game 1, the New York Mets took the series lead with a 3-1 win over the LA Dodgers in a much anticipated match-up between All-Star pitchers Jacob deGrom and Clayton Kershaw.
 
And the game lived up to the billing as deGrom struck out 13 over seven innings, while Kershaw fanned 11 over 6 2/3, Daniel Murphy's fourth-inning homer and David Wright's two-out, two-run single carried the Mets to the win.

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