Game 1 of the World Series took over five hours and 14 innings, so there was plenty of time for things to come full circle. And that’s what happened in the Royals’ 5-4 win over the Mets. From bringing history to full circle to doing the same for in-game events, consider the following…
*Last year’s World Series in Kansas City’s Kaufmann Stadium ended when Alex Gordon couldn’t make it around on a potential inside-the-park home run against San Francisco. Gordon died on third with the tying run of Game 7 against Madison Bumgarner. This year’s World Series opened with Alcides Escobar hitting an inside-the-park home run off Matt Harvey, with help from a miscommunication between Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto over who should take the fly ball.
*The last time the Mets won the World Series, it was Boston’s Bill Buckner making a famous error at first base. It looked like the Mets would win Game 1 in the eighth when Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer booted a routine grounder with two outs that gave New York a 4-3 lead.
*Gordon couldn’t bring in the tying run last year on an inside-the-park shot. This year he did bring in the tying run of Game 1 with a more traditional outside-the-park shot. A dead center blast off previously unhittable Mets closer Jeurys Familia tied the game in the ninth.
*When the Mets took a 3-1 lead in the sixth, it might have been more. Wilmer Flores ripped a line drive that looked headed toward the left field corner with two outs, and it would have scored a run. Mike Moustakas made a great play on the ball to deny Flores. But the New York shortstop got his due—he was the one at the plate on the Hosmer error.
*The Hosmer error itself brought KC’s infield defense full circle, giving back the run that Moustakas had saved.
*Just as a corner infield error by Kansas City allowed in a lead run, so too did a corner infield boot by the New York open the door for the winning run. David Wright misplayed a routine grounder off the bat of Escobar to begin the fateful 14th.
*Hosmer finally brought everything full circle and got his team back the run he had given away in the field. It was the KC first baseman who lifted the sacrifice fly that scored Escobar with the game’s winning run.
This was a game Kansas City really needed to win. As the home team, they had the pressure on them to begin with. And once they were able to get three runs off Matt Harvey in six innings and get him out of the game, it shifted to a battle of bullpens. That’s a battle fought on KC’s turf and they need to win those.
As for the Mets, the long relief—in the form of starters Jonathan Niese and Bartolo Colon-were valiant, combining for four shutout innings and Colon might have made it five without the Wright error. But at the end of the day, when every inning is magnified, this team needs seven innings, not six out of their starter to win this Series.
Ben Zobrist was hot in the ALCS against Toronto, and he kept it going last night. Twice, Zobrist jumped the first pitch for doubles and had a three-hit night. The notable offensive showing on the other side came from Juan Lagares, who came off the bench for defensive purposes and ended up 2-for-3.
New York is still in as good a position as a team can possibly be when trailing a short series (a huge qualifier, I realize). They only need to get one win on the road and they send Jacob de Grom to the hill. I believed from the start that the most realistic path to victory for the Mets was for de Grom to win here, then get two of three back in Citi Field and try and lock it up with de Grom back here in Game 6. Everything hinges on tonight, the game I think will decide the ultimate Series winner.
We conclude on a somber note. Edinson Volquez’s father passed away yesterday afternoon and Volquez, the Royals starter, was not informed until he came out of the game (at the request of his wife). We send out prayers for the repose of the soul of his father and for the comforting of the Volquez family.
The same goes for Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill, who resigned this morning for health-related reasons. Kill had missed games in recent years due to epileptic seizures and while it’s sad to see him leave the program he was turning around, it’s much better to see him taking care of his health.