Oct 20, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey (43) reacts as Kansas City Royals right fielder Alex Rios (back) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the second inning in game four of the ALCS at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports
Whatever momentum the Blue Jays took into the Rogers Centre on Tuesday afternoon quickly evaporated as the Kansas City Royals hitters jumped on R.A. Dickey early and often. Alcides Escobar led the game off with a perfect bunt, and Ben Zobrist quickly put the Royals up 2-0 on a home run to right. The Royals were up 4-0 by the time the first inning came to a close, but the bleeding didn’t stop there. In the 2nd, Alex Rios took a 2-0 fastball deep to left center for a solo home run to make the score 5-0.
While Liam Hendriks did an admirable job keeping the Royals’ bats quiet, the Jays offence failed to replicate yesterday’s fireworks. In a game the Jays needed to win with their offence, the Jays could only muster two runs against starter Chris Young on a Josh Donaldson double and an RBI groundout from Jose Bautista. Though the Jays did have some opportunities to score against KC reliever Luke Hochevar, the Royals once again flexed their bullpen muscle and kept the Jays hitters quiet.
LaTroy Hawkins continued to remind us why his MLB career is over, and loaded the bases while failing to recording an out before passing the torch to Ryan Tepera. By the end of the 6th, the Royals lead grew to 9-2. Ex Philadelphia Phillies closer Ryan Madson continued to keep the Jays bats silent, pitching a scoreless 7th inning around a leadoff single from Troy Tulowitzki.
In an effort to keep the Jays relievers fresh for the remainder of the series, Ryan Tepera was commissioned for mop up duty. Despite Kevin Pillar’s Herculean efforts in center field, Tepera surrendered some more runs in the eighth, pushing the score to 12-2.
In a game where the Jays really needed a quality start to cool off a hot Royals offence, R.A. Dickey was simply not up to the task. The knuckleball moved, but Dickey couldn’t seem to keep it in the strike zone and anything over the plate was met with hard contact. Now, the Jays will need to look to Marco Estrada to keep the series alive on Wednesday evening, and in doing so hopefully flip the script and do what the Royals were able to accomplish in the 1985 ALCS.