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Royals sweep Orioles to advance

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By Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — When the final out was made on another improbable night, and the Kansas City Royals were headed back to the World Series, Ned Yost stood in the dugout and watched.
He watched as a bunch of young players he’s nurtured for years celebrated. He watched as veterans and journeymen and baseball vagabonds piled onto the infield. And he watched as a fan base that has so often criticized him relished a moment 29 years in the making.
“These kids, from the minute you saw them, you knew they were going to be special,” Yost said. “Their goal was to get here and win a championship, and today they accomplished that.”
Led by a dynamic defense, an opportunistic offense and one of the best bullpens in the game, the Royals swept aside the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. With another tight win, 2-1, the Royals captured their first the American League championship since 1985.
“It’s hard to explain,” said outfielder Lorenzo Cain, whose clutch hits and dramatic grabs earned him the series MVP award. “We’re clicking at the right moment right now.”
Now, the Royals will carry an 11-game playoff win streak into the World Series, one shy of the major league record. That includes their first eight this season, something that had never been done in postseason history. Kansas City beat Oakland in a 12-inning wild-card thriller to start things off, then swept the Los Angeles Angels in the Division Series.
The Fall Classic will begin Tuesday in Kansas City between the Royals and the winner of the NLCS between the Giants and Cardinals. Coincidentally, it was St. Louis that fell to the Royals in seven games during the 1985 World Series.
“I don’t think we’re done yet,” designated hitter Billy Butler said.
After the Royals held the Orioles to three hits in Game 3, Jason Vargas and their bullpen held them to four Wednesday night. Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis got the game to Greg Holland, who matched Dennis Eckersley’s record with his fourth save of the best-of-seven series.
Holland got J.J. Hardy to ground out to third base for the final out, and the Royals spilled onto the infield in a wild celebration. Fireworks shot over the crown-shaped scoreboard in center field, and a blue-clad sellout crowd that included Royals greats George Brett and Brett Saberhagen let out a roar while cars on nearby Interstate 70 honked their horns.
“That’s what you dream of as a kid,” Holland said. “Punch your ticket to the World Series, especially before your home crowd. These fans have been waiting a long time. They deserve it.”