It took 12 innings, but the Kansas City Royals have done it. They have won their first World Series title since 1985 with a 7-2 victory over the New York Mets in Game 5.
The Mets had a 2-0 lead going into the ninth with Matt Harvey only giving up four hits. Mets manager Terry Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen had told Harvey he was out, but he talked them into leaving him in the game. Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain and gave up a double to Eric Hosmer which scored Cain. It was then that Collins removed Harvey in favor of closer Jeurys Familia who had already blown two save opportunities in this World Series. It’s not Familia pitched badly. He got Mike Moustakas to ground out to first, but that advanced Hosmer to third. With the infield brought in, Salvador Perez grounded out to David Wright who held Hosmer at third. But then Hosmer made a mad dash for home and reached safely when Mets first baseman Lucas Duda made an errant throw home. While Duda was not charged with an error, Familia was chraged with his third blown save and the game was tied just the same.
The Royals scored five runs in the top of the 12th. The go ahead run was driven in by the seldom used Christian Colon. Doubles from Alcides Escobar and Cain accounted for the other four runs. Frankly all 25 guys on the squad could have been bestowed with the World Series MVP, but Royals catcher Salvador Perez won the honors. Perez went 8 for 22 with 2 RBI during the Series. He becomes the first catcher to win the World Series MVP since Pat Borders did so with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992.
In three of the four Royals’ victories, the team was down in the 8th inning or later including in Game 4 last night when the game was tied on Daniel Murphy’s error with the Royals going ahead on singles by Mike Moustakas and Perez. Amazingly, the Royals only hit two home runs in the entire series (one by Escobar and one by Alex Gordon). The Royals won with singles, doubles, stolen bases, aggressive baserunning and the best bullpen in baseball.
I admit that I thought the Royals were a fluke last year and that they would not sustain their success this season. Needless to say, I was wrong. The Royals were simply better than the Astros, the Blue Jays, the Mets and everyone else.