October 22, 2014
Kansas City got some royal redemption in game 2, as their rookie right hander served up some high heat in a must win in Missouri. Tonight was a match made in baseball heaven. Fast ball pitching against fast ball hitting, but the Giants could not make much out of Ventura’s 97 MPH winds.
San Francisco answered first with a Blanco blast into the right field seats. The 1-0 lead didn’t last very long because tonight, the Royals brought their bats. In the bottom of the inning, Escobar led off with a shot that Crawford couldn’t handle. Aoki popped up to shallow left. Cain came to the plate, and after Escobar got caught stealing second, doubled past a diving Ishikawa. With 2 out, Peavy walked Hosmer on four pitches and then, we got to see what Billy Butler saw; an 0-1 sinker that he laced into left center field, tying the game, and finally giving the fans something to talk about.
The Giants went quietly in the top of the 2nd, and then in the bottom of the inning, the Royals came up big. Infante got a stand-up double, and Escobar drove him home for the go ahead run with a flare down the right field line. Location. Location. Location.
Kansas City showcased some dandy defense in the Giants half of the 3rd when Hosmer picked Blanco’s scorching line drive, then slid to first base to beat him to the bag for the out.
Peavy retired the Royals 1,2,3 in the bottom of the inning, and then got rewarded in the top of the 4th with double doubles from Sandoval and Belt. Panda’s prolific hitting, extended his consecutive on base streak to 25 games, setting a franchise postseason record. After knotting it up at two, the Giants could have done more damage, but Belt got hung out to dry trying to advance to third on a bad throw from Aoki.
Ventura and Peavy both held their opponents at bay in the 5th, keeping the tie score intact. The next inning is where both pitchers parted ways. In the top of the 6th, Kansas City’s ace of the future became their 2nd game starter of the past. After giving up singles to Posey and Pence, Herrera came in to pick up the pieces, putting away Belt and Morse, preventing any further threat.
In the bottom of the inning, Peavey allowed Cain to get on base with a looper to left, then gave a free pass to Hosmer. With runners on first and second and no outs, he was given the hook, and the Giants hoped to halt the rally with right-handed relief from Jean Machi. But Billy Butler had other plans. He fired a bullet into center field, and Cain, with Usain lightning Bolt speed, hustled home to give the Royals a 3-2 lead.
Lopez replaced Machi for one batter. In came the hard hurling rookie reliever, Hunter Strickland, who immediately advanced the runners to 2nd and 3rd with a wild pitch. Perez, who found his groove last night giving the Royals their only run, greeted Strickland with a two run double to center field. Infante then added two more with a bomb to left, and as Perez waited at home plate for Infante, to celebrate their 7-2 lead, Strickland went psycho, calling out Perez, and before it could escalate into a bench clearing brawl, Strickland, having a bad day at the office, was escorted off the field. San Francisco, matching a World Series record of summoning five pitchers in a single inning, brought in Jeremy Affeldt to stop the bleeding, which he did, getting Escobar to hit into a double play.
In the top of the 7th, if the Giants had any delusions of a comeback, it was quickly dashed when Kelvin Herrera took the mound. He seemed somewhat human giving up back-to-back walks, but no batter could parlay that into anything promising.
The elusive Tim Lincecum relieved Affeldt in the bottom of the inning, showing, he still got it, by convincingly retiring the side. In the top of the 8th, Wade Davis replacing Herrera, had his way with the heart of the Giants order, and the Royals were now three outs away from making it out of Kansas City with momentum.
Lincecum returned in the bottom of the inning, and after retiring the first two batters, left the game with tightness in his lower back, making short work of his postseason play. Greg, you can’t hurt me, Holland struck out three out of four in the 9th, and proved to San Francisco that if they can’t secure the lead in the later innings, they may not be giants when the Royals bullpen is in town.