TORONTO — The Kansas City Royals may have a commanding 3-1 lead over Toronto in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, but they know the Blue Jays have faced similar long odds and came out on top.
Royals manager Ned Yost saw what Toronto was able to do in the Division Series against Texas earlier this post-season. The Jays turned around 2-0 deficit with three straight victories to win the best-of-five set.
"You're playing a tough team, against the Toronto Blue Jays," Yost said prior to Game 5 of the ALCS at Rogers Centre on Wednesday. "They've won three straight before. You know you've still got a lot of work ahead of you."
Toronto manager John Gibbons said his team's performance against Texas in the ALDS gives them an added confidence boost.
"They've done it before," he said. "It definitely wasn't easy. But we proved to ourselves we could do it. But it will be a battle."
Kansas City, which finished the regular season with an American League-best 95-67 record, has history on its side.
Of the last 79 teams to have a 3-1 lead in an LCS, 67 of them have advanced to the World Series, with 39 winning the American pennant in five games.
One of those 12 teams to claw back from a 3-1 hole, however, was the 1985 Royals, who rattled off three straight wins to claim the ALCS from the Blue Jays in seven games.
This Kansas City team is used to playing on big stages after winning the AL pennant and advancing to the World Series last year.
Yost says that experience will help his team going forward.
"You know, last year there was a lot of excitement," Yost said. "We hadn't been through it. This year we do have that experience. We've been through it. We understand what it's like.
"I think we're more comfortable in this environment now. So just makes it a little bit easier."
Catcher Salvador Perez, who's 2 for 15 with a home run, a walk, an RBI and three runs scores during this ALCS, agreed with his manager.
"I think the experience is important for us," Perez said. "Last year we just wanted to be in playoff because we've never been before.
"Now we know how it feels, and now we want to win."
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Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press