BALTIMORE -- Both the Royals and Orioles got to the American League Championship Series in large part because of their formidable bullpens. Kansas City's relief corps won the first of what's sure to amount to many late-inning battles, outlasting Baltimore's in 10 innings on Friday in an 8-6 roller-coaster win.
The Royals' bullpen was responsible for half of those frames, after starter James Shields departed at the end of five. Rookie Brandon Finnegan proceeded to surrender the game-tying run without recording an out, but the fearsome trio that is Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland righted the ship -- retiring 12 in a row at one point -- and commandeered the Royals into extra innings, culminating in their three-run 10th inning.
"We felt that was the best opportunity to give us a chance to win the ballgame," manager Ned Yost said.
"That's the kind of stuff we expect to see from these guys," said third baseman Mike Moustakas, who followed Alex Gordon's go-ahead homer with a two-run shot in the 10th to cap the scoring. "We're stoked that they're on our side. Going out and doing what they did is not an easy job, especially against the lineup over there."
Herrera had plenty of reason to sport the wide smile he was wearing after the lengthy affair. The righty, entering the game with one out and runners on first and second in the sixth, quickly induced a crucial forceout at third. And with two runners still on, he got yet another grounder from the typically homer-happy Nelson Cruz, this one an inning-ending double play to keep the score tied.
"I was happy to keep my team in the game, get that job done quickly," Herrera said. "Challenging Cruz like that, that was pretty fun. I was pretty excited. I just tried to get a double play, that way I could go back to the seventh inning and keep my team going."
Herrera did, paving the way for Davis' entrance in the eighth. He, too, racked up two innings of work, the last a three-strikeout performance that fueled his club into the 10th, sparked by a pair of homers from Gordon and Moustakas.
Holland gave up a single Orioles run but locked down the save, clinching the Royals' fourth extra-inning postseason win in five games.
"The impressive thing is they're doing it with their backs against the wall pretty much the whole postseason," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "It's pretty impressive the way they're doing it. They really shut those guys down."