The crowned Royals ride the roach coach to the Series

Greg Holland, Salvador PerezJ.J. Hardy’s two-out, down-to-the-Orioles-last-strike hopper caught Mike Moustakas right where Moustakas wanted it on the third base line. Moustakas’s high throw across the infield caught first baseman Eric Hosmer right where he wanted it. OK, a little bit high, but nothing to it. We do this kinda stuff to ‘em all throughout the picture.

Just like the only two runs the Royals would need to put on the board all day long scored on a pair of grounders and a sacrifice. Big deal. We do this kinda stuff to ‘em all throughout the picture.

The Oriole elephant falls to the Royal mouse again

Cain channeled his inner 1969 Met in Game Two . . .

Cain channeled his inner 1969 Met in Game Two . . .

Have you noticed the same two things I’m noticing about the Kansas City Royals? Thing one: They seem to have positioned themselves as giant killers. (And who knows that they won’t get a chance to be Giant killers, too?) Thing two: Contrary to swelling popular opinion, they don’t always need extra innings to make a postseason statement.

It might have shocked enough people that they dispatched the Baltimore Orioles, 6-4, in Game Two of the American League Championship Series in nine regulation innings. It probably has shocked enough people that they’re halfway toward a second consecutive sweep of a regular season powerhouse.

Bombs, schmombs, these Orioles can be road runners, too

De Aza sliding across the plate in the eighth as a slightly stunned Miguel Cabrera (24) looks homeward.

De Aza sliding across the plate in the eighth as a slightly stunned Miguel Cabrera (24) looks homeward.

The one thing Detroit Tigers fans probably fear more than anything else happened Thursday night. The Baltimore Orioles got into the Tigers’ bullpen at all, never mind while holding a one-run lead.

The one thing Orioles fans knew above all else going in was that their power game was probably their most obvious asset, assuming they didn’t run into pitchers who could tie them up. Who knew the Orioles could perform any impression of the Kansas City Royals, never mind the one they performed in the bottom of the eighth, after homering their way for the most part to that one-run lead?

The Orioles Like Mondays, So Far

Wei-Yin in with a mound masterpiece . . .

What a difference Monday makes. To Jim Johnson and to the Baltimore Orioles.

On Sunday night, Johnson got slapped around like a parakeet when he came in to try holding a two-all tie. On Monday, he and his fellow bullpen bulls stood fast enough, after rookie Wei-Yin Chen out-pitched and out-smarted out-of-retirement, wizened Andy Pettitte, before getting tired in the top of the seventh.

And the Orioles had it even with the Empire Emeritus, a 3-2 win played about as tightly as a baseball game can be played under any conditions, never mind postseason conditions that include only slightly veiled weather threats.

The Orioles, Defiant

Saunders, defying the Rangers and his own history against them, at home and otherwise . . .

Don’t be surprised if the word “defiance” turns up on Baltimore Orioles’ caps or uniform sleeves somewhere during this postseason. Their very season seems to define it, and the way they pushed the Texas Rangers out of it seems to redefine it.

My God, the Rangers even managed to load the pads on Oriole closer Jim Johnson with two out in the bottom of the ninth and David Murphy coming up, and all they could do was watch in mute horror when Murphy’s fly settled into Baltimore left fielder Nate McLouth’s glove for the game, 5-1.