By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - 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.