Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Key Hits Fuel Royals' Budding Confidence

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Key Hits Fuel Royals' Budding Confidence

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Suddenly the Kansas City Royals can hit with power in the clutch.

Suddenly the Royals can perform successfully in front of capacity crowds.

Suddenly, in a span of three games, the darlings of the postseason are more than mere upstarts.

They play at home Sunday looking to close out a best-of-five series against the team with the best record in baseball this season, the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have not led in the series. Not through any of the 22 innings played. All in Anaheim, where L.A. created a bigger home advantage than any team in baseball this season.

Just eight teams have rallied to win an MLB playoff series after losing the first two games. So far, the Angels showed no indication they will join that group after the Royals became the first team in history to claim three straight postseason wins in extra innings.

Your Royals. The long-suffering franchise that for years fielded squads casual fans would go watch once or twice a year just to say they did ... sometimes admitting this only to themselves.

The drill was to go to Kauffman Stadium, sit in your assigned seat, then roam and find something more intimate. Just to catch a glimpse usually of some opponent. Not the Royals, whose players you rarely committed to memory unless it happened to be Danny Tartabull, Carlos Beltran, Johnny Damon -- promising stars who left for greener outfields.

Feels strange when those days -- long, dark days -- suddenly end and true-blue heroes emerge.

The revived Royals have hit, hurled and hustled into our consciousness so forcefully we wake up and rub that Louisville Slugger imprint bashed into our foreheads. If we dare to go to sleep at all.

I mean, really ...

Mike Moustakas clubbing a home run in the 11th inning on Thursday out of the No. 9 hole, then batting in that same spot Friday and putting down the perfect bunt to beat the shift.

Eric Hosmer flexing the muscle the Royals insisted would make him potent, even in a yard as expansive as The K, bashing his key triple in the wild-card game, then following with a decisive homer in Game 2 at the Big A, and going 6 for 11, with two three-hit games, so far in the postseason. …

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