Kansas City Royals def. New York Mets, 4-1
Game 1: Kansas City 5, New York 4 (14 innings)
Game 2: Kansas City 7, New York 1
Game 3: New York 9, Kansas City 3
Game 4: Kansas City 5, New York 3
Game 5: Kansas City 7, New York 2 (12 innings)
For the first time since 1985, the Kansas City Royals are baseball’s champion, winning the title in a five-game series that was much less one-sided than the 4-1 result would indicate.
All four Royals wins in the Series were after Kansas City trailed, and all featured late-inning heroics which have come to be expected from the team, as they came up clutch for the entire postseason.
Starting Point: A Classic Opener and a One-Way Sequel
In the opener in Kansas City, the Mets took a 4-3 lead in the eighth when Wilmer Flores scored on an error by Eric Hosmer. Alex Gordon tied it in the ninth with a solo homer, and after five excruciating extra innings, Hosmer went from goat to hero when his sacrifice fly won it for the Royals in the 14th. The game was the longest opener in World Series history, and included a little bit of everything, including a leadoff inside-the-park home run by the Royals’ Alcides Escobar, and a power outage in the television production truck that caused a blackout of the game’s broadcast. In Game Two, after the Mets led 1-0 halfway through, the Royals took a 4-1 lead with consecutive RBI singles by Escobar, Hosmer (2 RBI), and Mike Moustakas. In this contest, their late-inning magic wasn’t to take a lead, but instead to put it away, as three runs scored on the eighth, with one each on an RBI double by Alex Gordon, a sacrifice fly by Paulo Orlando, and a triple by Escobar, making it 7-1, and sending the Series to the Big Apple with the Royals up 2-0.
Turning Point: The Mets Defense
After the Mets won Game 3 by scoring nearly as many runs in that game (9) as they did in the rest of the Series combined (10), and David Wright starring with 4 RBI, they went into Game 4 looking to even the Series at 2-2. Instead, New York ended up down 3-1 and a game away from elimination. In the eighth inning, with the Mets up 3-2, an error by NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy allowed Ben Zobrist to score, tying the game. Ensuing RBI singles by Moustakas and Salvador Perez gave Kansas City a 5-3 lead, and the Royals got within a win of the title when Lucas Duda lined into a game-ending double play as Yoenis Cespedes was caught wandering too far off first base.
In Game 5, Curtis Granderson’s first inning homer and Lucas Duda’s sixth inning sacrifice fly gave the Mets a 2-0 lead through eight innings. Starter Matt Harvey went out for the ninth after talking his way back into the game, but allowed a walk and an RBI double by Hosmer, and was pulled with a 2-1 lead. With one out, Perez grounded out to Wright, the third baseman, but when Wright threw to first, Hosmer, who was on third, broke for the plate. Hosmer would have clearly been out with a good throw, which would have been the final out of the game, but Duda rushed the throw home and threw it away wildly, allowing Hosmer to tie the game, 2-2. Mets closer Jeurys Familia, who had relieved Harvey, became the first player to blow three saves in one World Series, although this one wasn’t the most fair blown save, as he didn’t allow a hit.
Ending Point: A Big 12th Inning for the Champs
As Game 5 continued into extra innings, neither team posed a strong threat to score through the 10th and 11th. In the 12th, after Perez singled to lead off the inning, pinch runner Jarrod Dyson stole second, and advanced to third on Gordon’s groundout. Christian Colon, in his first at-bat of the postseason, singled to left to score Dyson, and the Royals led for the first time in the game, 3-2. After another Murphy error on a fielder’s choice, Colon scored on an Escobar RBI double, before, two batters later, Lorenzo Cain’s three-RBI double cleared the bases and gave the Royals a 7-2 lead. Closer Wade Davis, who allowed just eight runs all season, and none in the postseason, got three outs, and the Royals were World Series champions.
The Royals title provides a happy ending to a long stretch for this franchise after its last title in 1985. There were no playoff appearances, and only seven winning records, from 1986-2013, and while the drought ended last year with the team reaching the postseason as a Wild Card team, and winning eight straight to reach the World Series, it ended in heartbreak, with the tying run stranded at third base in the ninth inning of Game 7.
This year, the Royals led the AL Central nearly wire-to-wire, as they were on a mission to win one more game than last year–the clinching game of the World Series–and won a division title for the first time in 30 years. This team with such an aptitude for coming from behind to win close games in the postseason used its skills in doing so to avoid elimination in a classic series against the Astros, before beating the Blue Jays in six games to reach the Fall Classic again, and winning the world title in five games over New York.
Therefore, while a lot of things can be said about this Royals team, one thing is for sure about both the team and its fan base: they have unquestionably earned a title they’ve waited an entire generation for–World Series champion.