Cueto grounds Astros, launches the Royals to ALCS

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Johnny Cueto delivered a masterpiece on his biggest stage yet, pitching eight dominant innings Wednesday night and leading the never-say-die Kansas City Royals to a 7-2 victory over the Houston Astros and back to the American League Championship Series.

Cueto (1-0) allowed two hits, a single by Evan Gattis followed by Luis Valbuena's second-inning homer, before retiring the final 19 batters he faced. He struck out eight without a walk in the kind of clutch performance the Royals expected when they traded for him.

When Wade Davis breezed through the ninth, the Royals poured onto the field to celebrate.

The defending AL champs will host the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 1 on Friday night. The teams have met once before in the ALCS with the Royals winning in seven games in 1985 — they would go on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals for their only World Series triumph.

Within ten minutes of the game ending all ALCS T-shirts at the team merchandise store were sold out.

The director of merchandise says don’t worry because they expect more shipments Thursday morning.

The director says ordering the shirts can be tricky because teams never know if they are going to clinch at home or on the road.

“We know there will be a line at the door,” Brett Salzenstein, director of merchandise for the Royals said. “It’s one of the celebration shirts that they’ll wear throughout this run, at the end of the next round there will be a new one and at the end of the world series, hopefully there will be a really big one to celebrate, so they will be out.”

Salzenstein says he expects lines to start as early as 9 a.m., Thursday. Other stores around the metro including Rally House and Kansas Sampler will also be opening early Thursday at 7 a.m., specifically to sell royals gear.

The postgame celebration didn't end with just T-shirts selling out, though. The Royals continued their tradition of champagne spray, greet the fans, after party at McFaddens.