Five lessons learned from ALDS Game 1

Five lessons learned from ALDS Game 1

ANAHEIM -- The Royals are up one game in their best-of-five series with the Angels after using eight pitchers over 11 innings in a 3-2 victory on Thursday. The momentum can shift quickly in any short series, but there are still a few things to be gleaned from Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

Royals reinforced their defensive prowess: Lorenzo Cain made two excellent catches in center, leaping against the fence in the first to steal extra bases from Kole Calhoun and making a belly-flop dive to pluck away a hit from Erick Aybar in the second. Nori Aoki also had a couple of nice grabs in right, and first baseman Eric Hosmer was quick jumping on Aybar's fifth-inning bunt and making the tag.

Josh Hamilton looks rusty at the plate: He hadn't played in a game since Sept. 16, so it's not surprising that Hamilton went 0-for-5 in Game 1. Said manager Mike Scioscia: "Josh is going to get a chance to get some at-bats and the swing. If he can find that rhythm at the plate, that's going to be huge for us."

  Date Time Matchup/Result Network
Gm 1 Oct. 2   KC 3, LAA 2 video
Gm 2 Oct. 3   KC 4, LAA 1 video
Gm 3 Oct. 5   KC 8, LAA 3 video

David Freese may have more postseason magic: The Most Valuable Player of the 2011 NL Championship Series and World Series was 15-for-82 (.183) in his last four playoff series, but the Angels' third baseman hit a home run in the fifth inning. He has eight home runs in 49 postseason games.

Jered Weaver brings out the best in Jason Vargas: Facing his old Long Beach State teammate, Vargas allowed two runs in six innings. In four career meetings against Weaver, Vargas has allowed three runs in 27 1/3 innings.

Royals running extends beyond steals: Alex Gordon was aggressive in turning a single into a double when Mike Trout lost his fifth-inning fly ball in the lights. Gordon, leading off the inning, ended up scoring on two deep fly balls.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.