A combination of crafty and clutch hitting is the name of the game for the 2015 Kansas City Royals, which they firmly showed in Game One of the World Series. As a result, the Mets were subsequently handed a 5-4 loss in a 14-inning marathon.
Alcides Escobar got things started early for Kansas City, hitting an inside-the-park homer on the first pitch delivered by Matt Harvey in the bottom of the first. The Mets struck back in the fourth, as a Travis d’Arnaud RBI single evened the score at one. The Mets got the lead in the fifth courtesy of a Curtis Granderson home run, and extended it in the sixth with a sacrifice fly by Michael Conforto. The Royals then countered in the bottom half, as Hosmer and Mike Moustakas each drove in a run, tying the game at three. A Juan Lagares single and stolen base in the eighth set the table for Hosmer’s costly error off the bat of Wilmer Flores.
Matt Harvey pitched six decent innings, giving up three runs on five hits to a potent Kansas City offense, striking out only two. Addison Reed pitched a scoreless inning of relief, followed by a shaky outing from Tyler Clippard, who was bailed out by Jeurys Familia in the eighth.
But Familia, himself, didn’t get the job done. With one out in the ninth, number eight hitter Alex Gordon (yes, number eight) crushed a solo home run to dead center to tie the game at 4. Rounding first base with a finger pointed to the sky, the young star had avenged Hosmer’s costly error the inning before. This game was headed to extras.
Jonathan Niese pitched an inning and two thirds of perfect relief, striking out two and giving the Mets a fighting chance. Bartolo Colon came on in the twelfth inning and got into some trouble, but worked his way out of it with a Jarrod Dyson pop-out and a Paulo Orlando groundout in the twelfth and thirteenth. He just couldn’t get out of trouble in the fourteenth, as a David Wright throwing error and a Ben Zobrist single proved too much for the aged veteran. Following an intentional walk to Lorenzo Cain to load the bases, Eric Hosmer redeemed himself with a sacrifice fly to score Alcides Escobar and take Game One. The Royals bullpen held the Mets in check, as Luke Hochevar, Wade Davis, Ryan Madson, and former Met Chris Young all pitched scoreless innings in relief.
There’s something to be said about the way both teams played tonight. Sloppiness presented itself on both sides with Hosmer and Wright’s crucial errors, but the clutch pitching on both sides was fun to watch. Going into the series, it is known that Kansas City has the best bullpen in the majors. I think this emphasizes even further that the Mets bullpen is beatable, whereas the Royals’ isn’t. New York offense really needs to capitalize on opportunities within the first six innings, because once this game got into extras, I couldn’t convince myself there was a way the Mets could win. The performances of Wright, Clippard, Familia, and Yoenis Cespedes were definitely disappointing—not to mention that of Michael Cuddyer’s, which I’ve come to expect—but tomorrow is a new day. This was a game for the ages, and I think this was indicative of what’s to come: both teams will have to grind out every inning, at-bat, and even every pitch, if they want to claim the World Series title.
Tomorrow’s game will be broadcasted from Kauffman Stadium on FOX at 8:07pm. Jacob deGrom will face off against Johnny Cueto, in what can only be expected as a great continuation of tonights game.