Playoffs game blog: Kansas City and the New York Mets need one win to advance

In search of their first World Series title since 1985, the Kansas City Royals are now one win away from a return to the Fall Classic. They take a 3-1 lead into Game 5 today of the American League Championship Series at Toronto's Rogers Centre.

Kansas City has been bashing the baseball and posted a 14-2 win yesterday over Toronto. The top three in their order - Alcides Escobar, Ben Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain - went a combined 6-for-11 with a homer, four runs and nine RBIs. K.C. went 8-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Baseballs glove.jpgThe Royals scored just nine runs in their first three playoff games this October, going 1-2. In the last six games they have scored 49 runs, going 5-1.

In the last two games against Toronto (one they actually lost 11-8), Kansas City has 30 hits, a batting average of .390, four doubles, a triple, three homers and a batting average of .524 (11-for-21) with RISP. In the ALCS, Kansas City is batting .331 with 33 runs.

According to Elias Sports, the Royals are the first team in postseason history to score 11 or more runs in a postseason game after allowing 11 or more runs in their previous game.

This afternoon's pitching matchup features Kansas City right-hander Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA) facing Toronto right-hander Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.13 ERA). In two playoff starts, Volquez is 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA, allowing three runs and seven hits in 11 2/3 innings. Estrada is 1-1 with a 3.09 ERA, allowing four runs and 11 hits in 11 2/3 innings.

The last team to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a postseason series was the 2012 San Francisco Giants. They rallied to beat St. Louis in seven games in the National League Championship Series.

Tonight, the New York Mets can complete a four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs when they play at Wrigley Field in Game 4 of the NLCS. During the regular season, the Cubs went 7-0 against the Mets, holding New York to 11 runs in seven games. But now the Mets have won by scores of 4-2, 4-1 and 5-2. The Mets' ERA is 1.67 in the series.

The Cubs, looking for their first pennant since 1945 and first World Series title since 1908, now must win four straight games to take this series. The Mets are looking to return to the World Series for the first time in 15 years and win it for the first time since 1986.

On the mound tonight will be left-hander Steven Matz (4-0, 2.27) for the Mets and right-hander Jason Hammel (10-7, 3.24 ERA) for the Cubs. Matz gave up three runs in five innings in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Dodgers. Hammel has failed to get past five innings in three of his past five starts, going 2-1 with a 5.23 ERA. He is 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA in five career starts against the Mets.

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