HOUSTON -- It must have looked all too familiar for Astros fans -- a lead going into the eighth inning against the Royals, the game seemingly in hand, and then, everything goes wrong.
Just like the Royals did in Game 4 of the 2015 American League Division Series, they completed a wild eighth-inning comeback. This time, it was a six-run rally that lifted the Royals to a 7-3 win over the Astros on Saturday night.
Back in 2015, the Royals were down, 6-2, to the Astros and trailing in the series, 2-1. A five-run outburst in the eighth put the Royals ahead, 7-6, in an eventual 9-6 victory. The Royals won the series with a victory in Game 5 in Kansas City, part of a playoff run that led to a World Series championship.
"We might have mentioned it a little in the dugout, just joking around," said Royals outfielder Alex Gordon of the 2015 rally.
"Definitely a similar inning to what it was in the playoffs," said Eric Hosmer, who ripped a two-run homer during Saturday's rally. "But I think it was just big for our offense to break out. We got ourselves in a couple situations, and just lacked the big hit a couple times the first couple games. I think that's a breakout game for the offense, and I think we'll start swinging the bats a little better now."
Alcides Escobar started the eighth with a walk, followed by a single from pinch-hitter Mike Moustakas. Drew Butera sacrificed both runners up. And then, Gordon, for the second straight night, hit a clutch two-run double.
"A hit like that, that just breaks the ice," Hosmer said. "Like I've been telling you, I think we've just been lacking that one big hit to really get things going. So that just broke the ice for everybody. You could just sense the energy change in the dugout. It just freed everybody up from that point on."
And then, the Royals' keep-the-line-moving mentality took over. Lorenzo Cain singled in Gordon, and Hosmer homered. Then, Salvador Perez also homered.
All six runs came against Astros right-hander Luke Gregerson, who coincidentally was also involved in Houston's eighth-inning collapse in 2015.
"He didn't have his normal repertoire," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "The 0-2 [count] to Escobar that led to the walk, that starts the whole inning. And it happened fast. I looked up, 14 pitches and he's got five runs.
"He didn't say much on the bench, but the results are what they are. And that inning was just a bad night for him."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.