Royals show fight until very end but fall just short of World Series glory

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If he possessed the speed of teammate Jarrod Dyson, Alex Gordon believes he would have scored.

But instead of tying the seventh game of the World Series in the bottom of the ninth inning, Gordon was left on third base when his two-out hit gave the Royals a final chance for another remarkable finish. But the next batter, Salvador Perez, popped out and Gordon was left to walk past the San Francisco Giants as they celebrated their 3-2, championship-clinching victory on the Royals’ home turf.

"I’m not as fast as Dyson. If I was, I probably would have scored," Gordon said. "But give credit to them. They played great. They had a great season. They deserved to win."

Gordon said he was just trying to make something happen when he came up with the season on the line against World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner and lined a single to center fielder Gregor Blanco. Gordon said he didn’t see the ball skip past Blanco but once he knew it had, he charged around the bases with an eye on third-base coach Mike Jirschele.

"When it got by him, I got a smile on my face when I’m running the bases, hopefully thinking I could score," Gordon said. "I just put my head down and ran and almost fell rounding second base. I was waiting for Jirsch to give me a signal."

Gordon had no problem with being stopped 90 feet from home.

"It was a good hold," he said. "(Left fielder Juan Perez) had the ball in plenty of time. It was close but just came up a little short."

Close enough to make Bumgarner wonder if the game was going to be tied.

"I was starting to get nervous," he said. "He can run a little bit. It’s a big outfield. It was a little nerve-wracking there."

The Royals had been trying since the fourth inning to even the game after the Giants had gone ahead in the fourth on Michael Morse’s line single to right off an 0-2, 99-mph fastball from Kelvin Herrera.

But once Bumgarner entered in the fifth, the Royals did not have many chances. Bumgarner gave up a single to the first batter he faced, Omar Infante, and then retired every Royal until there were two outs in the ninth. Then came Gordon, who lined an 0-1 slider to center for his second hit of the night.

After the Giants went ahead, 2-0, in the top of the second, Gordon doubled to right-center to score Billy Butler from first. Heads-up baserunning got Gordon to third on a flyout to left and then he tied the game on Infante’s sacrifice fly. Gordon also reached when he was hit in the back by a curveball to lead off the fourth.

The longest-tenured Royal in the lineup, Gordon had gone 3 for 21 in the first six games of the Series as his average for the postseason dropped to .203.

"I’ve been seeing the ball all right," Gordon said. "The numbers don’t show it. I did see it pretty good tonight, got some pitches to hit and didn’t miss them."  

While disappointed to come so close, Gordon still was able to put a season when the Royals ended a 28-year playoff drought in perspective.

"We definitely put Kansas City on the map," he said. "It’s been a while since we’ve been able to do something like this. With the way these young guys are playing, they’re going to be special for a long time."

You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @StanMcNeal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.