Experience pays off when stakes highest

Morales, Gordon deliver in pressure-packed elimination game

Experience pays off when stakes highest

KANSAS CITY -- Veterans Alex Gordon and Kendrys Morales stepped up on Wednesday and did what veterans do in a pressure-packed elimination game: They delivered.

Gordon, who went into Game 5 hitting just .214 in the postseason, drilled a ground-rule double to right-center, setting up the decisive three-run rally in the fifth that led to the 7-2 American League Division Series-clinching win.

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Morales, who also had been fairly quiet in the series, delivered the dagger, a three-run homer in the eighth that put the game out of reach.

"That's what experienced players do," general manager Dayton Moore said. "They know the situations, they don't panic, and they do what's necessary."

Game Date Result
Gm 1 Oct. 8 HOU 5, KC 2
Gm 2 Oct. 9 KC 5, HOU 4
Gm 3 Oct. 11 HOU 4, KC 2
Gm 4 Oct. 12 KC 9, HOU 6
Gm 5 Oct. 14 KC 7, HOU 2

In the fifth, Gordon batted with Salvador Perez on first, none out and the Royals trailing, 2-1. He roped a cutter that one-hopped over the fence.

"[Astros starter Collin] McHugh had been pretty tough," Gordon said. "He just kept painting the corners with that cutter. He was changing speeds. You just have to hang in there and battle. I was fortunate to get something I could drive."

Perez and Gordon both scored on Alex Rios' double, and Kansas City never looked back.

After hitting two home runs in Game 1, Morales did little in the next three games. But facing Astros ace Dallas Keuchel, who was pitching in relief, Morales pounded a deep drive nearly into the fountains in left-center.

"That was really huge," manager Ned Yost said. "That allows you some cushion, a chance to breathe a little."

Once again, the Royals came back to win, as they did in all three series victories.

Statcast: Gordon's sliding grab

"The crowd was so great, as it always is," Gordon said. "They keep you energized. They just kept coming, cheering us on. That picked us up."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.