The Latest: Royals take 2-0 lead in World Series
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The latest on the World Series, where the New York Mets are trying to pull even with the Kansas City Royals in Game 2 on Wednesday night (all times local):
That’s all from Kauffman Stadium. The Royals beat the Mets 7-1 for a 2-0 World Series lead behind Johnny Cueto’s two-hitter and Eric Hosmer’s tiebreaking two-run single.
Citi Field hosts the World Series for the first time in Game 3 Friday night. Mets rookie Noah Syndergaard faces Yordano Ventura in a matchup of young aces who throw 100 mph heat.
The rout is on. Alcides Escobar follows his inside-the-park homer in Game 1 with an RBI triple in the eighth off Addison Reed to make it 7-1. Paulo Orlando and Alex Gordon also drove in runs for the Royals.
Johnny Cueto finishes off a perfect seventh to preserve a 4-1 lead. He’s allowed just two hits and thrown 98 pitches. Royals should hand the ball to Kelvin Herrera for the eighth.
The Royals have stormed back to take the lead through five innings in Game 2, putting four runs on the board against Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom.
Alcides Escobar began the onslaught with an RBI single, but it was a series of two-out hits that did the real damage. Eric Hosmer bounced a two-run single up the middle, Kendrys Morales had another single, and Mike Moustakas hit an RBI single to right to finish it off.
After allowing a run in the fourth, Royals starter Johnny Cueto bounced back nicely, setting down the bottom of the Mets lineup in order in the fifth inning.
A light rain has started to fall, and suddenly the Mets have slipped up.
Ben Zobrist led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a grounder that first baseman Lucas Duda bobbled for an error. Moments later, Eric Hosmer’s sinking liner squirted out of the glove of charging center fielder Juan Lagares for a base hit.
Jacob deGrom pitched out of the jam, retiring Salvador Perez on an inning-ending grounder to shortstop with the bases loaded.
As long as the weather doesn’t get worse, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Another uncharacteristic defensive miscue by the Royals helps New York take the lead in the fourth inning on Lucas Duda’s RBI single with two outs.
With a chance for an inning-ending double play, third baseman Mike Moustakas stepped on the bag but made a wide throw to first.
Umpire Mike Winters called Yoenis Cespedes safe at first, ruling Eric Hosmer’s foot came off the bag as he stretched for the ball.
It appeared to be the correct call, though replays were inconclusive. Kansas City did not challenge.
Duda followed with a soft single to shallow left field that allowed Daniel Murphy to score from second.
Royals starter Johnny Cueto got himself in trouble by walking leadoff man Curtis Granderson and Murphy.
Duda has both hits for the Mets – neither one was struck hard.
A few extra closers were at Kauffman Stadium. Naw, not because Jeurys Familia blew a save chance in Game 1. These guys were here for an awards ceremony.
Mark Melancon of the Pirates and Andrew Miller of the Yankees were honored by Major League Baseball with awards named for former relief aces Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman.
Rivera is baseball’s career saves leader. He was thinking about Familia, who gave up a ninth-inning home run Tuesday night that doomed the Mets.
”It’s part of the frame, how he will respond after yesterday. So we’ll see. When that happens, we’ll see,” Rivera said.
Hoffman playfully praised himself for his latest escape.
”I’d like to let you guys in on my first greatest save today, and that was having Kansas City barbecue and not getting it on my white shirt,” he said.
Jacob deGrom and Johnny Cueto are off to fast starts.
There was only one runner in the first two innings, and that was Mets slugger Lucas Duda on an infield single against Kansas City’s shift.
DeGrom hit 98 mph on the radar gun against Ben Zobrist. Cueto used his quick-pitch delivery to disrupt Daniel Murphy’s timing.
This is quite a hairy matchup, too: Cueto’s dreadlocks vs. deGrom’s long locks.
Video and photos showing pine tar on Salvador Perez’s shin guard in Game 1 created quite a buzz online.
Cameras caught the Kansas City catcher dabbing his fingers in the sticky substance on the side of his leg as he crouched behind the plate.
Royals manager Ned Yost was asked Wednesday if he was surprised the subject was even brought up.
”No, they look for any stupid thing to bring up. It’s not illegal for a catcher to get an extra grip. A pitcher is illegal. But Sal is not putting anything on the ball for the pitcher. He uses it for his own – he just taps it lightly so that he gets a better grip when he throws – which is completely legal,” Yost said.
Mets manager Terry Collins had no issue with the pine tar on Perez’s equipment.
”I’ve seen throughout baseball, everywhere, you have it. And again, catchers, they’ve got to get a grip, too, especially on cold and damp nights. They need a grip on the baseball, so they use pine tar for themselves,” Collins said. ”It’s so obvious, the umpires see it, too. And if it’s that obvious, they would do something about it. But because, it’s only really a concern with the pitchers, and I don’t think there’s really enough to put on there that you can wipe it on and throw the ball back to the pitcher to where it’s going to affect how the pitcher throws the baseball.”
Collins recalled even pitchers using plenty of pine tar when he was managing a minor league team in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it was cold and dry.
”I had pitchers, you couldn’t shake their hand because you couldn’t get your hand away from them,” Collins said, drawing laughs. ”The argument was, you can either do this or you can let this wild sucker throw some balls at 95 mph with no command. I think any hitter would say, let him have a little command on it, it’s OK.”
Quick-pitching is fast becoming a hot topic at the World Series.
The Royals and Mets are talking about it, a day after New York closer Jeurys Familia tried to catch Alex Gordon off-guard. Instead, Gordon hit a tying home run in the ninth inning.
Familia occasionally tries to get the jump on opposing hitters. With no runners on base, he’ll make it seem as if he’s going into the set position, but won’t come to a stop before throwing.
To Kansas City manager Ned Yost, that’s perfectly OK. His Game 2 starter, Johnny Cueto, also does it.
”I don’t have any problem with it,” Yost said. ”For me, what pitching is about is disrupting timing for the hitter. And most of the time pitchers do it with fastballs, sliders. Some guys do it disrupting their timing in their delivery. Johnny Cueto does it.”
Gordon said he was prepared for Familia’s tactics. Mets manager Terry Collins said it’s worked for his star closer.
”I try not to say, `Don’t use that anymore,’ because it’s been an effective move for him,” Collins said. ”So we’ve got to realize when you do it, if you’re going to miss, you’ve got to miss in the dirt, not in the middle of the strike zone.”
After starting nearly all season, Jonathon Niese and Bartolo Colon are now in New York’s bullpen. One will be available for Game 2, the other will not.
Mets manager Terry Collins says the 42-year-old Colon won’t pitch Wednesday after throwing 50 pitches in the 14-inning opener the previous night. He went 2 1-3 innings and took the loss, hurt by David Wright’s error at third base.
Niese struck out three in two scoreless innings but threw only 21 pitches. So he would probably be available in Game 2, Collins said.
”One of the reasons why we took Jon out when we did is we thought we might need him tonight, so we wanted to limit him a little bit,” Collins said.
When rookie outfielder Michael Conforto hit a sacrifice fly for the Mets in Game 1, he became the first player to have an RBI in the Little League World Series (2004), the College World Series (2013) and the major league World Series (2015), the NCAA said.
Ed Vosberg and Jason Varitek are the only other players to appear in all three events.
Mets manager Terry Collins made a lineup change for Game 2, putting Gold Glove winner Juan Lagares in center field and shifting Yoenis Cespedes to left.
Lagares was set to bat ninth against Royals pitcher Johnny Cueto. New York rookie Michael Conforto, who started the opener in left field, was moved to designated hitter, leaving Kelly Johnson on the bench.
Cespedes and Conforto had a mix-up right off the bat Tuesday night, when Alcides Escobar’s drive to deep left-center ricocheted off Cespedes’ lower right leg and rolled away. Escobar raced around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
”This has nothing to do with the first play last night,” Collins said. ”The same thing could happen if Juan Lagares was out there.”
On a windy night in Kansas City, Lagares should help shore up New York’s defense in the expansive outfield at Kauffman Stadium. Collins, however, said the decision had more to do with the matchup against Cueto.
”Right-handers hit this guy better,” Collins said. ”Juan is swinging the bat pretty good, so hopefully he can get some hits.”
Royals second baseman Ben Zobrist has been given marching orders from his wife, Julianna, if she happens to go into labor with their third child in the midst of the World Series.
”She said, `You just better hit a home run,”’ Zobrist said before Game 2 on Wednesday.
She is due three days after Game 7 is scheduled to take place.
”It’s just a matter of I can only focus on one thing at a time anyway. She knows that. I’m one-tracked minded,” Zobrist said. ”So she already kind of let me know, if we’re in the middle of a game, she’s probably not going to tell me what’s going on, and that’s fine, because I trust her and trust our family members around her.”
Of course, if there is some sort of complication, Zobrist would be there in an instant.
Julianna, a Christian music singer, has taken a light-hearted approach to the matter. She tweeted during Game 1, ”If anything were to happen I would just take a selfie of me and the baby and text it to Ben after the game!
Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez, whose father died shortly before he started Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night, returned home to the Dominican Republic on Wednesday to attend the funeral and spend time with his family.
Volquez plans to rejoin the team when it heads to New York later in the week.
Daniel Volquez, 63, died of heart failure earlier Tuesday. It was the elder Volquez who introduced his son to the game, even purchasing the boy his first glove.
”I can definitely understand what he’s going through right now,” said Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, whose mother Connie died of cancer in August. ”When someone loses a family member, that takes priority over everything that happens. Baseball is baseball, but family, things that happen like that – that’s something that is more important than baseball.”
Royals pitcher Chris Young’s father, Charles, also died of cancer last month.
”For all the stuff that’s happened this year to all of our parents, and a couple other people that have had some bad luck with their families, it has to bring us closer together,” Moustakas said. ”This is our family.”
There is no threat of rain putting a damper on Game 2 of the World Series.
The misty front that washed through before the Royals beat the Mets in the series opener is long gone, and a breezy, sun-splashed afternoon greeted fans tailgating at Kauffman Stadium.
Country music singer Sara Evans is scheduled to perform the national anthem, while a trio of Medal of Honor recipients will throw out ceremonial first pitches. ”God Bless America” will be performed by Michelle Doolittle of the U.S. Air Force during the seventh-inning stretch.
The Royals will be trying to take a 2-0 lead to New York on Wednesday night. They beat the Mets 5-4 in 14 innings in Game 1, matching the longest game in World Series history.