Royals walk-off in the 14th inning to take Game 1 of the World Series
You can’t say that this hasn’t been a strange postseason. From New York Mets’ David Murphy‘s six home runs in six straight games to the insanity that ensued in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the American League Division Series (ALDS).
Almost every postseason game in 2015 has had something special, different or interesting occur (most of which will be in a series of columns I will soon be running on Today’s Knuckleball – likely at the conclusion of the World Series).
Game 1 of the World Series was no different than the rest of the postseason has been. It started off in the first inning, on Mets’ starter Matt Harvey‘s very first pitch. American League Championship Series (ALCS) MVP Alcides Escobar took a belt-high, 95 mph fastball deep into the gap between center and left field.
Between the two outfielders, rookie Michael Conforto in left and Yoenis Cespedes in center, there was some kind of miscommunication. The ball bounced off the right leg of Cespedes and by the time Conforto could get the ball back to the infield Escobar had scored. It was the first lead-off home run in a World Series game since 1903 and the first ever since Mule Haas of the Philadelphia Athletics’ hit one in the 1929 World Series.
MLB’s statcast had Escobar circling the bases in just 15.09 seconds, his top speed being 20 mph. Later Escobar told reporters what he thought when he saw Royals’ third base coach Mike Jirschele waving him home,
“I said wow! I have a chance to make this. That’s nice. That’s a lot of fun right there.”
The Mets tied the game at one run a piece in the fourth inning, adding on one in the top of the fifth and one in the sixth to make the score 3-1. The Royals then answered back in the bottom of the sixth with two runs of their own.
Eric Hosmer hit a sacrifice fly that scored Ben Zobrist who had led off the inning with his first double of the night. A stolen base by Lorenzo Cain put him on second base (he had singled prior to Hosmer’s sac fly) and a single to center by Mike Moustakas plated Cain, tying the score at 3-3.
After a single and a stolen base by Juan Lagares in the top of the eighth, Lagares was able to score on a rare fielding error by Royals’ first baseman Hosmer making the score 4-3.
The Mets’ were confident with closer Jeurys Familia coming in to face the Royals in the bottom of the ninth, the team just three outs away from winning Game One. Familia, who had not blown a save since July and had tied the Mets’ franchise records with 43 saves in the regular season, had pitched 9.2 scoreless postseason innings in 2015.
After getting Salvador Perez to ground out, Familia threw a 97 mph sinker to Eric Hosmer who hit a solo-shot that sent the game into extra innings, an extra five innings to be exact. It was excellent timing on Hosmer’s part as he had allowed the go-ahead run on his error in the top of the eighth inning.
The winning run for the Royals came after a throwing error by David Wright that put Escobar on first base. Bartolo Colon, who was in his third inning of relief allowed a single to Zobrist putting runners at the corners.
Then, after intentionally walking Lorenzo Cain to load the bases with nobody out, Hosmer hit a sacrifice fly to score Escobar from third finally putting an end to Game 1 of the 2015 World Series after five hours and nine minutes of play.
Other Important Game 1 Notes:
- There have been conflicting reports of what Royals’ starter Edinson Volquez did and did not know prior to the start of the game Tuesday night, but in a tragic twist of events his father had passed away that morning. Whether he knew or not Volquez pitched like an ace for Kansas City allowing six hits, three runs and one walk while striking out five over a full six innings pitched. His family met him in the locker room after the game and he left with them, which is about as much as anyone can agree upon as to how much he knew up until that point.
- Royals’ reliever Chris Young was a big star of the game, however, it seemed fit to wait to mention his accomplishments until now. Young, who was drafted 15 years ago by the Pittsburgh Pirates, has spent most of his career injured. He was out of the Majors in 2013, spending it in the minor leagues in a comeback attempt. He came back in 2014 and pitched well for the Seattle Mariners, earning AL Comeback Player of the Year honors but didn’t get signed until he caught on with Kansas City in late March to add depth to their pitching staff. Now at 36 years old he made his World Series debut. Scheduled to pitch in Game Four of the series, Young entered in the 12th inning of Game One and pitched three innings throwing 53 pitches without allowing a hit and striking out four batters. One thing, we do know about Volquez’s tragedy is that Young knew about it prior to the game when manager Ned Yost informed him he might have to make a spot start in Volquez’s place. Young, who also lost his father this season and still started his game the next day, didn’t speak to Volquez regarding the loss of his father but told reporters after the game,
“I’m not sure if Eddy knew or not, but regardless I know the pain he is going through right now. I don’t know there’s much you can say. Just let him know this is his baseball family and we’re there for him and we love him.”
- The Royals used six pitchers in the game and the Mets used seven, including 42-year-old Colon who pitched three long innings before taking the loss. Both teams are going to need their starters Johnny Cueto and rookie Jacob deGrom to go deep into their games Wednesday.
- Harvey pitched an equally good game as Volquez also going a full six innings while allowing five hits, three runs and two walks while striking out two batters.
- Zobrist, acquired by the Royals at the trade deadline from the Oakland Athletics, had three hits Tuesday night for Kansas City, including two doubles.
- FOX Sports had multiple power outage issues, further delaying the game as well as continuing to make it just one of those games you don’t see everyday.