Extra-inning thriller: Royals rally past Mets in Game 1 of World Series
Alcides Escobar started the World Series with a jolt. Five hours later, he ended the longest opener ever with a jump — into the arms of his joyous Kansas City Royals teammates.
Saved by Alex Gordon’s tying home run in the ninth inning off Mets closer Jeurys Familia, the Royals won in the 14th when Eric Hosmer’s sacrifice fly scored Escobar for a 5-4 win over New York late Tuesday night.
This tied for the longest Series game in history, and in 5 hours, 9 minutes, it had a little bit of everything packed in. A lot of everything, actually.
"Tonight was huge," Royals pitcher Chris Young said. "Home run by Alex Gordon and the character and fight, find a way to win late, great team effort."
Escobar hit an inside-the-park homer on the very first pitch from Matt Harvey. Later, a power failure caused the national TV audience and the team’s replay rooms to go dark.
The nearer it got to midnight — and beyond — the more oddly the ball bounced.
In the 11th, Salvador Perez grounded a single that hit the third-base bag and caromed high in the air. In the 12th, Daniel Murphy struck out on a pitch that got past Perez — it ricocheted off the backstop to the Royals catcher, who threw out Murphy at first.
About the only thing missing? A home run by Murphy, who had connected in a record six straight postseason games. The MVP of the NL Championship Series did contribute a pair of singles.
Then in the 14th, Escobar reached on an error by third baseman David Wright. Ben Zobrist’s single put runners at the corners and an intentional walk to Lorenzo Cain loaded the bases.
Hosmer atoned for a key error by lifting a flyball to medium-deep right field, and Escobar barely beat Curtis Granderson’s throw home.
"I wanted to redeem myself for what happened earlier," Hosmer said. "That’s the beauty of this game. Always get a chance to redeem yourself and can’t thank my teammates enough."
Escobar streaked home standing up, and the Royals rushed from the dugout to meet him.
Young pitched three innings for the win.
It was 12:18 a.m. at Kauffman Stadium, and Game 2 is Wednesday night.
Jacob deGrom starts for the Mets against Johnny Cueto. It’s a hairy matchup: DeGrom’s flowing tresses vs. Cueto’s mop of dreadlocks.
Anyone who’s ever seen the Royals play — especially in October — knows they’re called resilient for a reason. Once again, they reinforced their reputation.
Gordon shook the ballpark when he tagged Familia, hitting a solo drive with one out over the center field wall. The star closer hadn’t blown a save since July 30 and had been nearly perfect this postseason.
"Their team, one of the things we know about them is they’re never down and out," Mets manager Terry Collins. "We’ve got to put them away. We’ve got to do a better job."
Known more for his glove than his bat, Gordon got a huge hug in the dugout from Eric Hosmer. A two-time Gold Glove first baseman, Hosmer’s error gave the Mets a 4-3 lead in the eighth.
Escobar provided the early excitement. He loves to swing at first pitches, and this time the MVP of AL Championship Series produced his best result yet.
A mix-up by Mets outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and rookie Michael Conforto helped Escobar wind up with just the second inside-the-parker to lead off a Series game. Ol’ Patsy Dougherty of the Boston Americans did it in 1903 — his came in the second game ever of what became known as the Fall Classic.
Harvey brushed aside the misplay and quickly settled in. The Mets, meanwhile, soon caught up with Royals starter Edinson Volquez, who did his best on the day his father died in the Dominican Republic.
Granderson homered and the Mets came back for a 3-1 lead. Mike Moustakas lined a tying single off Harvey tied it in the sixth.
Hosmer let Wilmer Flores’ two-out, two-hopper get past him in the eighth, allowing Juan Lagares to scamper home with the go-ahead run.
Next thing Hosmer knew, he was embracing Gordon on the bench. Gordon most surely enjoyed going 90 feet farther than he made it last October.
When last seen in the Series, he was held up at third base in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 after an outfield misplay. He got stranded there and KC fell a run short against San Francisco.
For both teams, this began as a lucky day.
Exactly 30 years earlier, on the same field, Bret Saberhagen and the Royals routed St. Louis in Game 7 for their most recent crown. The next year, also on Oct. 27, Darryl Strawberry homered to help the Mets beat Boston in Game 7 for their latest title.
By the time the Royals won early Wednesday, they’d already made Oct. 28 a day to remember, too.