They were not going to let this year end in another disappointment. One year after leaving the tying run on third base to end Game 7 of the World Series, the Kansas City Royals took over in extra innings to claim their first championship in 30 years.
For most of the game it looked like the New York Mets were going to stay alive and force a Game 6 as Matt Harvey was untouchable through the first eight innings. But manager Terry Collins’ decision to leave Harvey on the mound in the ninth inning ended up being the Royals saving grace. Harvey would walk the leadoff batter, sparking a rally that saw the Royals score two runs and send the game to extra innings.
In the top of the 12th inning, the Royals would blow the game wide open. Tied 2-2, Series MVP Salvador Perez lead off with a single. Jarrod Dyson came in as a pinch-runner and stole second. Christian Colon broke the tie with an RBI single and Alcides Escobar added to the lead with an RBI double. Lorenzo Cain would seal the deal with a three-run double, and just like that the Royals found themselves with a 7-2 lead.
The Royals are one of the most relentless teams in baseball at the plate, looking to make contact on every pitch and grinding out at-bats. They almost never swing and miss, reducing strikeouts and increasing the chance that the ball will be put in play. If they Royals have shown us anything this year, it’s that putting the ball in play is the best way to make something happen in a game. It caused crucial fielding errors by the Mets multiple times during the Series.
In a league that preaches plate discipline and taking pitches off the plate, the Royals swinging approachworked as they scored a total of 27 runs on 37 hits in their five World Series games.
On top of that they were aggressive on the basepaths, putting their runners in better positions to score. This was summed up in the bottom of the ninth when first baseman Eric Hosmer scored the tying run on a routine grounder to the shortstop. He could have been thrown out at home, but instead Hosmer charged home with a chance to be a hero and came out on top. At just 26 years old, Hosmer already has the most RBIs in the postseason by a Royals player with 29, passing Royals legend George Brett this postseason.
While the Royals came into the series as the favorite looking to make up for last years crushing finish, the Mets were the team that wasn’t supposed to be there. Anchored by a young starting rotation that featured two rookies, a second yearand a third year player, they flew through the first two rounds of the playoffs. Knocking off the big money Los Angeles Dodgers and the power hitting Chicago Cubs, and backed by a historic home run streak from relative unknown Daniel Murphy, New York looked ready to bring a trophy back to the Big Apple. Unfortunately, the experience seemed to favor the Royals as the Mets couldn’t keep runs off the board and committed crucial errors when the game was on the line.
Kansas City fans have been waiting for this since 1985. It has been a long time coming and a loyal fan base finally has a chance to celebrate. Eventually it will be time for this team to look to next season. For now, they are World Series champions.
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