KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Somebody on the Baltimore Orioles needs to step up, slugger Steve Pearce said. Somebody needs to get that key hit, or pitch a shutdown inning, or make the impossible-looking play on defense that will start to turn the American League Championship Series around. The Kansas City Royals have won the first three games, including 2-1 on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium, to put themselves on the brink of the franchise’s first World Series appearance since 1985. The Orioles, on such a great run before the ALCS started, are nearly out of time after winning 96 games in the regular season and sweeping the Detroit Tigers in the first round of playoffs. That the Orioles have lost three games by a combined five runs to K.C. is not a source of pride for Pearce, but instead one of aggravation. “We lost another close game,” Pearce said. “We’ve got to find a way to start pulling these games out. We’ve only got one loss left. “We’ve got to find somebody to get it done.” The only team that’s ever gotten series reversal done after a 3-0 deficit is the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who that season famously dropped the first three games of the ALCS to the New York Yankees. The contemporary Orioles need to find the Dave Roberts, Big Papi, Curt Schilling and Johnny Damon from their own roster, starting Wednesday afternoon in Game 4, or else their season is over. History and math say Baltimore’s task is next to impossible, not that J.J. Hardy wants to hear about those subjects. He’s operating more on faith right now. “Well, we’re not looking at it like that,” Hardy said. “I’ll assure you that. We’ve got to come out tomorrow and win. And just take it one day at a time. It’s tough to look at it in the long haul.” One of the problems with the Royals turning into the 2004 Yankees: They’ve won 10 straight playoff games and tend not to make enough mistakes to get themselves beat. Pearce came in batting .158 in the series but helped put the Orioles on the board by hitting a leadoff double in the second. Hardy drove him home with another double, and the O’s had a lead. But after Ryan Flaherty drew a walk, right-hander Jeremy Guthrie wriggled out of the jam, with Nick Hundley flying out deep to right and Jonathan Schoop popping out to first. A good inning could have been better. Later on, Kansas City’s defense started to put on a show again as it had in Games 1-2, and earlier in the postseason. Mike Moustakas made three strong plays at third base, and Alex Gordon made a nice catch in left fighting the lights. Other teams might have botched one or more of those plays. Not the Royals. Not this postseason.
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