ALCS notes and quotes heading into Game 3

KANSAS CITY - The Orioles need to win two of the next three games in the American League Championship Series or Jarrod Dyson will be right and this series will not return to Camden Yards.

The Orioles went from favorites to win the World Series back to underdogs in the ALCS after losing a pair of two-run games in Baltimore.

The Orioles were loose, relaxed and seemingly not too concerned about their two games to none deficit when they spoke with reporters on Sunday before their workout at Kauffman Stadium.

They talked like players that intend to start turning this series around.

"I trust my teammates and I trust what we have here. I believe if one team can come back and win the series, it's us," Nelson Cruz said.

Here are a few other ALCS notes and quotes:

* Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas has four playoff homers in just 22 at-bats. He has homered in both games of the ALCS and both were big. His two-run shot in the 10th inning in Game 1 stretched a one-run K.C. lead to three. His solo blast in the fourth inning Saturday gave the Royals a 4-3 lead.

In 53 games in August and September, Moustakas hit just two homers. Now he's hit four in six playoff games. He got off to such a poor start this season, that he was sent back to Triple-A in May when he was batting .152.

But he now has a playoff OPS of 1.211, when in the regular season he hit .212 with 15 homers, 54 RBIs and a .632 OPS.

October sometimes makes for unlikely playoff heroes and Moustakas is sure a hero for this red-hot Royals ballclub.

"He is locked in," Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph said. "You can throw his .200 average out the window that he had throughout the year. He is a dangerous weapon for them in the nine-hole and really squaring the ball up. We have to come up with a game plan to counter that, whether it means different pitches in different zones. We'll take a look at that."

* The Orioles went 43-3 in their last 46 games of the regular season when they scored four runs or more. They are 0-2 in this series when scoring four or more with 8-6 and 6-4 losses.

A big key in Game 3 will be simply for the Orioles to get the lead. They've not had it for one second of this ALCS.

cruz-gray-HR-ALDS-sidebar.jpg"It's important," Cruz said. "It can make the difference. Any team that takes the lead early is more likely to win the game. No doubt it is huge for us to jump ahead and score early."

Cruz is 10-21 (.476) in five postseason games with two homers, seven RBIs and a 1.310 OPS. He is 4-for-9 with a double and two RBIs in the ALCS.

Pitching in this series:

* Orioles - 9.35 starters' ERA, Royals - 6.75 starters' ERA.
* Orioles - 4.36 bullpen ERA, Royals - 2.16 bullpen ERA.

* Kauffman Stadium is a pitcher's park. The Royals averaged 4.3 runs per game on the road and hit 52 homers this season, and they averaged 3.7 runs per game with 43 homers at home.

"It's definitely a much, much bigger ballpark," Kansas City manger Ned Yost said. "We're used to this ballpark here. We're used to the vastness of the outfield, with our tremendous outfield defense. And Baltimore has the same (strong outfield defense).

"You'll see balls that probably will be in the seats in Baltimore in left field that will maybe barely make the warning track here. (If) you've got good pitching and defense, this is the park to play in, and both teams have that."

* Tonight's pitching matchup has Wei-Yin Chen (16-6, 3.54 ERA) facing former Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (13-11, 4.13 ERA).

Chen went 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts versus K.C. this year and is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two career Kauffman Stadium starts.

"We need a big start out of him, that's obvious. We know Chen will be aggressive and we have to play good defense and score some runs," Adam Jones said.

Jones also talked about the anticipated frenzied crowds expected here just like what we saw at Camden Yards.

"Kansas City is a city like Baltimore, yearning for a winner. It's going to be rocking, as it should be," he said. "The fans of Kansas City deserve a competitive team. As a sports fan myself, you love to see a packed house. As a competitor, I know I'm going to get worn out out there the whole game, but that's the beauty of baseball."

The Royals will take a nine-game postseason win streak that dates to the 1985 World Series into Game 3.

The Orioles are 21-18 (.538) all-time in ALCS play, going 10-11 at home and 11-7 on the road.

The weather forecast is bleak for tonight with steady rain expected and some high winds throughout the day. A local TV weatherman put the chance of a rainout at 80 percent last night. So we'll see and stay tuned.

If tonight's game did get rained out they would just push the series back a day and Game 3 would be scheduled for 8:07 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

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