Game 1 of the 2015 World Series kicked off with a bang in more ways than one.
Alcides Escobar’s leadoff inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the first inning made Kauffman Stadium erupt. The Royals drew first blood as early as one can draw first blood, with Escobar jumping on Matt Harvey’s very first pitch of the evening and lifting it out to left-centerfield, where it hit off of Yoenis Cespedes’ leg. As this goes to print, pre-Statcast, Escobar ran around the bases in about six seconds. That’s fast.
With a 1-0 lead, Edinson Volquez did not allow a hit through the first three innings. He did hit Kelly Johnson and walk Curtis Granderson in the third, but ended up walking away unscathed.
Playing in their first World Series game since October 26, 2000, the New York Mets were going to need a few innings to settle in. Of course, Escobar’s Little League homer didn’t exactly help them relax either. But in the top of the fourth, the Metropolitans got on track. With runners on first and third and one out, Travis d’Arnaud lined an RBI single to third to tie the game at one.
Rookie Michael Conforto then popped up to Mike Moustakas for the second out of the inning, and that was when the second bang occurred – in FOX’s control room. A power outage cut the broadcast off in the middle of the inning, and millions of viewers were sent into a crazed frenzy. It was an unfortunate coincidence, but what made matters worse was that when viewers were welcomed back to Kansas City via MLB International’s feed, they saw that the game had gone into a delay – because of the technical difficulties.
After about twenty minutes, the game continued with Matt Vasgersian and John Smoltz calling the action, before Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds, Tom Verducci and the rest of FOX’s broadcast eventually returned.
Anyway, back to baseball. In the top of the fifth, Granderson channeled his inner New York Yankee and crushed a solo home run to right field to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Conforto then lofted a sac fly to left field in the sixth, and Cespedes tagged up from third to make it 3-1 New York.
Of course, the Royals came back because, well, they’re the Royals. Eric Hosmer lifted a sac fly of his own to score Ben Zobrist, and Moustakas laced an RBI single into center field to score Lorenzo Cain. The game was tied 3-3 faster than you could say Rob Riggle or Jerry Seinfeld. Or Paul Rudd. Whichever you prefer.
Both Harvey and Volquez were done after six innings, and each allowed three earned runs on five and six hits, respectively. While not the aces of their clubs, both pitchers did their jobs, and this matchup will be interesting to revisit later in the series.
The game remained tied until the top of the eighth. With two outs facing fireball reliever Kelvin Herrera, Wilmer Flores chopped a ground ball to first base. As if it were an ode to Bill Buckner and Mets history, Hosmer misplayed it and the ball trickled into right field, allowing Juan Lagares to score and give the Mets a 4-3 lead.
After getting Salvador Perez to ground out to shortstop, Familia hung a sinker to Alex Gordon, who launched a majestic, game-tying solo shot to center field. It was Familia’s first blown save since July 30th, and the second comeback of the game for Kansas City.
Their third comeback, however, wouldn’t materialize until the 14th.
Thanks to a plethora of dominant relief appearances, the two teams traded zeros for four whole extra innings. Finally, in the bottom of the 14th, Escobar led off the inning by reaching on a throwing error by David Wright that pulled Lucas Duda off the first base bag. Then, Ben Zobrist singled, moving Escobar to third, and Cain was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a double/triple play scenario. But it was of no use, for Hosmer flied out to right, and despite a strong throw from Granderson, Escobar tagged and slid in safely to give the Royals a 5-4 victory and a 1-0 lead in the 2015 World Series.
Game 2 is later tonight, and will feature a battle of the aces – Jacob deGrom vs. Johnny Cueto. If it matters to you, 22 of the last 27 teams that won Game 1 ended up winning the World Series. So basically, the Royals are going to win it all. But let’s see if the Mets have anything to say about that.