Edinson Volquez and the Kansas City Royals shut down the Toronto Blue Jays offense, kicking off the American League Championship Series with a 5-0 win Friday.
Alcides Escobar led the way offensively for the Royals with two of the team's eight hits. Five different players also came through with an RBI in a balanced offensive effort. Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada allowed three of the five runs in 5.1 innings and came away with the loss.
However, the big story was Kansas City's ability to shut down the best offensive team in baseball over the course of the regular season.
Volquez started the game for the Royals and pitched six innings for the first time in his postseason career, allowing just two hits while striking out five batters in a dominant showing from start to finish.
Current and former players were impressed by the pitcher's showing on the big stage:
He didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning and avoided serious trouble until walking two to start the sixth. But he kept his composure and got three straight outs, including a strikeout of Troy Tulowitzki.
Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star noted the emotion after the pitcher escaped danger:
Both Royals manager Ned Yost and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons had good things to say about the performance after the game:
Meanwhile, the offense staked him to an early lead thanks to third-inning doubles by Alex Gordon and Escobar. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports noted the aggressive hitting by the shortstop early in the game:
Lorenzo Cain followed that up with an RBI single to bring Escobar home, continuing an impressive run by the outfielder:
Kansas City added to the lead an inning later with a Salvador Perez home run that he crushed to left field. This continued a trend we didn't see from this team during its magical run last season:
Volquez then passed the torch to the bullpen, which has been excellent over the past two years. Kelvin Herrera and Ryan Madson each threw a shutout inning, with Herrera being especially impressive in the seventh:
After an Eric Hosmer double helped key a two-run eighth inning, Luke Hochevar came in and completed the shutout with a scoreless ninth inning. The win gave the Royals a 1-0 lead in the ALCS and eight straight wins in this round.
Fox Sports: MLB noted how big the victory was for the team's chances of winning the series:
The only downside was a possible injury to Perez, who was hit on his glove hand on a follow-through by Josh Donaldson. Meanwhile, Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion was forced out of the game after suffering a finger injury. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, he was diagnosed with a ligament sprain.
Both teams will have to monitor their key players going forward.
The series will continue Saturday at 4:07 p.m. ET , with Toronto looking to even it. After a quiet opening game, the squad will be motivated to avoid a 0-2 hole in the seven-game series.
The Blue Jays will send David Price to the mound. He has allowed eight runs in 10 innings during the ALDS, including three innings of relief in Game 4. While he has been one of the best pitchers in the game over the past few years, he will desperately want to improve upon his 5.04 career postseason ERA.
Yordano Ventura has also struggled in the 2015 postseason for the Royals, but he will get the Game 2 start after allowing six runs in seven innings across two starts. The 24-year-old pitcher has great stuff, but consistency has been an issue throughout his young career.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for more year-round sports analysis.