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Moustakas' HR in 11th sends Royals over Angels

Oct 3, 2014 - 7:22 AM Anaheim, CA ( - Mike Moustakas' first home run in over a month provided the Royals with more extra-inning heroics on Thursday.

Moustakas greeted Fernando Salas with a leadoff blast in the 11th as Kansas City edged the MLB-best LA Angels of Anaheim, 3-2, in the opener of the ALDS.

Angels pitchers retired 16 straight hitters at one point, but the hosts wasted a bevy of scoring chances throughout, going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and leaving eight on base.

Their only runs came on solo shots from Chris Iannetta and David Freese in the third and fifth innings, respectively.

The light-hitting Royals countered with a long ball of their own, as Moustakas got just enough of a Salas (0-1) offering to send it barely over the right- field wall for the first extra-inning home run in Royals history.

Greg Holland (1-0) set down the side in order in the bottom half to cap Kansas City's second dramatic win in three days. The Royals needed 12 innings to stun the Athletics, 9-8, on Tuesday in an instant wild-card classic.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is scheduled for Friday with the Royals' Yordano Ventura taking on fellow rookie Matt Shoemaker, who has not pitched since Sept. 15 due to rib cage and chest injuries.

LA's struggles in cashing in had a lot to do with Kansas City's defense.

Lorenzo Cain, who made a tremendous leaping grab at the wall in right-center in the first inning, got an assist from his fellow outfielder on a similar fly ball in the sixth. Cain mistimed his jump, but Nori Aoki converged at the same time and made a backhanded stab to strand two runners.

"That was huge for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I wasn't sure either one of them was going to catch the ball, and I was shocked when Nori caught it."

Aoki came through again an inning later. With two outs and a runner on third, the right fielder lost the flight of C.J. Cron's drive to the warning track but recovered just in time to make a sliding catch.

After stranding a pair of runners in both the eighth and ninth innings, the Angels squandered a leadoff single by Kole Calhoun in the 10th, as Danny Duffy (1-0) retired Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick in order.

That Angels triumvirate combined to go 0-for-13 with two walks.

"We had some guys in scoring position, we just couldn't get that one hit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think we swung the bats a little bit better than what the numbers are going to show. We hit some balls hard and they made some terrific defensive plays."

Two of the three hits Jason Vargas allowed in his six-inning stint were solo home runs, while Jered Weaver countered with seven innings of two-run ball.

Both starters, who were teammates at Long Beach State 10 years ago, faced the minimum over the first two innings then had trouble with the No. 9 hitter in the third.

Moustakas worked a two-out walk in the top half and came around when Alcides Escobar doubled just over Josh Hamilton's glove in left field.

Vargas retired the first eight hitters he faced before Iannetta turned on an inside changeup and sent it into the bullpen beyond the left-field wall.

Gordon doubled into the left-field gap leading off the fifth, and the next two hitters manufactured a run with a pair of deep fly balls. Salvador Perez flew out to the warning track in left, and Omar Infante's sac fly to center plated the go-ahead run.

The lead did not last long with Freese, the 2011 World Series MVP, smacking a leadoff home run to nearly the same spot as Iannetta's blast.

Game Notes

Both teams had just four hits ... Vargas, who was making his first postseason start, became the first former Angel to start a playoff game against them ... Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera exited with a strained right forearm after walking the only batter he faced in the seventh inning ... This is the first postseason meeting between the clubs ... Game time: 4:05.