While the real world Royals take a 3-0 series lead into today’s Game 4 against the Orioles, the virtual version found themselves down, two games to one, against the Orioles in our simulation. Like they did all year in real life, though, the Royals found ways to scratch out runs and used their bullpen to seal a 3-2 victory that tied this virtual ALCS at two games apiece.
The Royals struck first in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring a pair of runs on a throwing error by Orioles catcher Nick Hundley with the bases loaded. Starter Miguel Gonzalez allowed a single by Billy Butler, hit Alex Gordon, and walked Salvador Perez before Omar Infante hit a ball that rolled just a couple feet in front of home plate. Hundley’s throw sailed wide of first base and Butler and Gordon scored easily.
They added their third run the next inning as Norichika Aoki doubled to lead off the frame, advanced to third on a fly out, and came home on Butler’s single. A wild pitch by Gonzalez advanced Butler to second, but Alex Gordon watched strike three sail by to end the threat.
The Orioles responded in the top of the sixth with a run on a sacrifice fly. They threatened again the next inning with runners on second and third with one out, but Royals starter Jason Vargas got Nick Markakis to pop out to shallow left field before giving way, after 113 pitches, to reliever Tim Collins, who retired Steve Pearce on a ground out.
Nelson Cruz added a solo home run in the top of the eighth off Collins, but Jason Frasor came in to squash any hopes of a comeback. Royals closer Greg Holland struck out the side in the ninth inning for the save.
The box score: