October 28, 2014
For The Kansas City Royals, tonight there was no place like home as they doubled down on the Giants previous 5-0 drubbing, giving diehard baseball fans the greatest gift of all. A game seven.
Twenty three year old Dominican dynamo Yordano Ventura took the mound with two things in mind; to honor the late, destined to be great, Oscar Taveras, and to redeem his team on their home turf. The rematch of he and Peavy proved to be no match at all, as this postseason, veteran pitchers have been shamelessly schooled by their rookie rivals. Ventura gave up no runs in seven innings, while Peavy was spanked for five, and then yanked way before anyone’s second beer.
The big surprise of the evening was how the Royals pounded the Giants, giant reliever, Yusmeiro Petit, who in the month of October, had only given up four hits in twelve innings of play. In game four he saved San Francisco’s World Series life by pitching three innings of shutout ball, but tonight there was no chance of resuscitation. Coming back to Kauffman Stadium, the Giants have caught a bad case of the Fall Classic flu, and the remedy is in the arm of veteran right-hander, Tim Hudson, whose performance this postseason, doesn’t seem to dictate a cure.
Ventura set the tone in the first inning by getting lead off batter Gregor Blanco to swing on a 3-2 fastball. Panik flied out to center, and Posey was put away on a grounder to short. In the bottom of the inning, Peavy started off on a positive note getting Escobar on a fly ball to right. Aoki struck out swinging on a 1-2 pitch. After losing Cain on a full count walk, Hosmer singled over the head of the struggling right fielder, Ishikawa, who slipped, allowing Cain to go to third. Peavy got out of the jam on a Billy Butler fielder’s choice.
The top of the second, Sandoval flied out to center field, then Pence, being Pence, lashed a double into right field. Belt struck out on a 3-2 rising fastball, and Michael Morse took Aoki to the warning track with a long fly ball to right.
The bottom of the second did not treat Peavy too kindly. After back to back singles by Gordon and Perez, Mike Mousakas slapped a double down the first baseline past a diving Brandon Belt, scoring Gordon, putting Perez on 3rd. Peavy then regrouped, striking out Infante on a series of nasty cutters and sliders. On Escobar’s soft infield grounder, the Giants defense self-destructed. Belt fielded the ball, but while keeping an eye on Perez, had a bout of indecisiveness, allowing Escobar to safely make it to first. With the bases loaded and one out, Aoki poked one to left, scoring Perez, moving Escobar to 2nd and Mousakis to 3rd. Poor, poor pitiful Peavy was pulled for Petit who immediately gave up a soft fly ball to center from Cain, scoring Moustakas, and Escobar, putting Aoki on 3rd. With one out, four runs in and runners at the corners, Hosmer came to the plate and Petit, who was brought in to restore order, delivered a wild pitch, putting Cain at 2nd, leaving two runners in scoring position. Then, Hosmer’s hot bat chopped a double over the glove of Crawford, scoring two more. A meeting on the mound didn’t do much as Billy Butler delivered a double into center field, scoring Hosmer. Petit, pained and drained, finally got Gordon on a ground out, Perez on a pop out, and after thirty four minutes, the Missouri massacre finally ended with the Royals taking a very commanding, seven run lead.
The top of the 3rd Ventura took a break from some high heat, striking out Ishikawa with an 82 MPH curveball. The Royals got a bit of a scare when suddenly; Ventura couldn’t find the strike zone and proceeded to walk three consecutive batters. Posey then made everything right in the Royals’ world by grounding into a double play.
In the bottom of the inning, Machi replaced Petit. Moustakas grounded out to short, and then Infante smacked a grounds rule double to left. Escobar hit one to the mound for out number two, Aoki drew a walk, Cain lined one that bounced over the center field wall, as grounds rule doubles are wild, scoring Infante, and the Royals added one more to their resume. Hosmer ended the 3rd on a ground out to the mound.
Sandoval led off the top of the 4th with a wicked ground out into the glove of Ventura. Pence, for once, did not reach base. Belt hit a sharp shot to an outstretched Moustakas, who, pulling Hosmer off the bag with high throw made Belt safe at first. Morse ended the inning with a ground out to short.
The Royals went quietly in the bottom of the 4th. Machi erased Butler on a fly to right. Gordon had a respectable 7 pitch at bat, and then struck out looking. Perez singled past Sandoval, and Moustakas flied out to center field.
In the top of the 5th, Ventura, still going strong, retired the side in order striking out Ishikawa, and getting ground outs from Crawford and Blanco. The Royals tacked on two more in the bottom of the inning by way of a single by Infante, and a sharp Double off the bat of Escobar. Aoki and Cain grounded out, and Hosmer struck out on a change up.
In the bottom of the inning, the more uneven tempered Hunter – Hunter Strickland, took over for Machi and kept the Royals in check. Butler drew a lead off walk, Gordon grounded in a double play, and Perez grounded to short.
The top of the 7th, Belt flied out to center, Morse grounded to short, and then the Giants ranged a mini threat with a walk from Ishikawa, and a sharp line drive from Crawford, who, if you’re keeping score at home, has hit safely in every World Series game. After Ventura got a talking to from pitching coach, Dave Eiland, Blanco popped out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, Posey took a seat on the bench, giving Andrew Susac a seat behind the plate. Then Strickland got the dubious honor of being awarded with the postseason rookie record for giving up home runs, his sixth, to Mike Moustakas, expanding the Royals lead by 10. Strickland then retired the side with an Infante pop up to first, Escobar fly ball to center, and a Dyson grounder to first.
The top of the 8th, Jason Frasor relieved the very remarkable Ventura, who left this must win game in style, shutting out the Giants on three hits. After yielding a singles to Panik, and Panda, Frasor got the best of Susac, and Pence, then recorded the final out, striking out Belt with a mean slider.
Vogelsong replaced Strickland in the bottom of the inning, retiring the side in order.
Tim Collins had good stuff in the 9th, getting Morse on a pop up to first, giving up a harmless single to Perez, then slammed the door on San Francisco’s face with back to back strike outs to Duffy and Blanco to end the game.
So tomorrow’s game seven is a rematch between two veteran right-handed pitchers. Jeremy Guthrie and Tim Hudson. Both newbies to the World Series – both vying to be heroes in the biggest game of their baseball lives. The question is – if Hudson falls short, will Bumgarner be a factor on two days rest? And, if the Royals take the lead, which bullpen will show up to prevent the Giants from destroying their Cinderella season?