The Mets faded away in Game 5 of the World Series, going down 7-2 to the Royals in extra innings as Kansas City captured their first World Championship since 1985.
The Royals won the World Series 4-1 over the Mets.
Here are my takeaways from the loss…
The season is over for the New York Mets.
Another day, another brutal loss for the Mets in the 2015 World Series. And mercifully, their season is now over.
Things started off just fine for the Mets. In fact, things were fantastic into the ninth inning.
This night was really all about Harvey, who was picked up by Granderson thanks to his leadoff home run in the first inning, and really his leadoff walk in the sixth inning.
The Mets had minimal offense, but with the way Harvey pitched, it seemed like that was all which was necessary on this night to pull within one game of the Royals in the World Series.
But it wasn’t, because the Royals just always seemed to find a crack in this series, and turn it into an abyss for the Mets to fall into.
Harvey was breathtakingly good in his last start of the year, leaving it all out on the field in dominating fashion. He pounded the strike zone on Sunday, living off his fastball and kept the Royals guessing with a brilliant array of off-speed pitches right out of the gate.
It was the best game of his life in the biggest moment of his life, and he soaked it all in while shutting down this incredible Kansas City offense from the first pitch he threw.
Meanwhile, the Mets didn’t muster much offense against Edinson Volquez, although they got an early lead in the first inning thanks to a leadoff home run from Curtis Granderson. They scratched across only one more run in the sixth inning after loading the bases with nobody out, and didn’t really mount anymore meaningful threats despite having numerous opportunities to knock Volquez out early.
But to Volquez’s credit, he buckled down and made some gutsy pitches of his own and did what he could do to give the Royals a chance.
It took a while, but eventually the Royals broke through in the ninth inning after Harvey was removed from the game with the tying run aboard, leaving it all out on the field in the process.
Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain to leadoff the inning, then Eric Hosmer doubled him in. Terry Collins lifted Harvey and went to Jeurys Familia, who induced a groundball to the right side to advance Hosmer to third.
Then with the infield in, Familia got the groundball he needed to the left side as David Wright held Hosmer at third. But as Wright threw to first, Hosmer took off for the plate and scored the tying run to the surprise of everyone in the ballpark and everyone watching on television.
It goes down as another blown save in this World Series for Familia. In two of them, he didn’t give up a hit.
But for the Royals, it was just a tremendous, gutsy base running play by Hosmer, as he forced a good throw from Lucas Duda at first base, which did not occur.
And once again, the Mets – as it’s seemingly gone all week long – could not make the big play when they needed to.
Its so unfortunate, because in that ninth inning in particular, Terry Collins did everything right, the lone exception maybe being leaving Harvey in after the leadoff walk. But the Royals have bled the Mets to death for every mistake and decision they’ve made through the entire World Series, and that did not change in Game 5.
So on this game went to extra innings, an area of the game the Mets really didn’t need to be in when facing elimination against a superior Royals bullpen.
And as was the case in Game 1, it just seemed like a matter of time before the Royals would claw the Mets and on this night, win the World Series.
The Mets got otherwise good bullpen work from Familia and Jon Niese, and Collins handed the ball to Addison Reed in the 12th. But he allowed a leadoff single to Salvador Perez. He was immediately replaced by Jarrod Dyson, who of course stole second. He then got to third when Reed induced a groundball from Alex Gordon.
Ned Yost then turned to Christian Colon for his first at-bat in the postseason. And he will forever be remembered for delivering the Royals their first World Championship since 1985.
The Royals poured it on from there, and fittingly, an error by Daniel Murphy reared it’s ugly head in the 12th, allowing Kansas City to run away in this game.
It was a sad but very fitting end to this World Series. The Royals owned the Mets from the very first pitch Harvey threw last Tuesday, and owned them until they sucked the last drop of blood from their souls at the end of Game 5.
The best Harvey Day ever, and it was still not enough.
With the Mets backs against the wall, they asked Matt Harvey to help them get this series back to Kansas City.
And in what was his last start of a brilliant comeback season in 2015, harvey delivered the best game of his life against a Royals team which has shown time and time again they can beat anyone in any place and any time.
He came out of the gate pitching with a purpose, basing everything off of an absolutely electric fastball with a brilliant curve, a brilliant change-up and aggressive pitching inside to both the Royals lefties and righties. At one point, he struck out four straight batters in the fourth and fifth inning with utterly dominating stuff before walking Alex Gordon with one out in the fifth. But he resumed striking out Royals batters, getting Alex Rios and Edinson Volquez looking to round out the fifth inning, leaving the Royals completely befuddled into the middle innings, and cruised through eight innings and owned the Royals in the process.
He was electric, intense, dramatic, energetic, and both gutsy and dominant all rolled into one, delivering in the biggest start of his brilliant young career.
Harvey was so intense and passionate about this game, he battled both Dan Warthen and Terry Collins to stay in this game after breaching the 100-pitch threshold after the eighth inning. The fans began chanting “WE WANT HAR-VEY!” in an effort to coax Collins to send him back out there in the ninth inning.
Collins obliged Harvey and the the fans, gave the ball to his pitcher in the ninth inning.
But he got into immediate trouble when he walked Lorenzo Cain and allowed an opposite-field double to Eric Hosmer which made the score 2-1. That ended Harvey’s night, but unfortunately the door was open for the Royals and they went right in and left Collins, Harvey and the Mets with a real sunken feeling.
But if there was any doubt Harvey’s guts and desire to win for these Mets, that has been put completely to bed with his showing tonight.
He is a tremendous Met, a tremendous player, and an absolute winner.
The Mets really needed to come out and attack Volquez early and often on Sunday. At first, it looked like they would do that when he allowed a solo home run to Curtis Granderson to leadoff the game for the Mets on a hanging change-up.
But that was really it for the Mets until the sixth inning when they barely scratched a run across after loading the bases with nobody out.
They also grounded into three separate double plays which shutdown any of those attempted rallies.
The frustrating part was they had Volquez on the ropes several times on Sunday. He allowed four men to reach base leading off an inning, but the Mets could only plate two of them thanks in part to grounding into three double plays and striking out on five other occasions.
That kept the Royals in the game, which is really not what the Mets can afford to do.
And of course it came back to bite the Mets in Game 5.
The Royals retired 13 straight batters between Michael Conforto’s single in the seventh inning and Daniel Murphy’s walk in the 12th inning.
There’s not much else to say. Second guess the manager all you want – they didn’t hit much in this series, they didn’t field either, and that is why they lost.
Don’t be ashamed…
This was a disappointing series on a number of levels for the Mets. Their defense wasn’t good and betrayed them at the worst possible times, they were locked out offensively, and they just couldn’t match the Royals speed and aggression right out of the gate in the World Series.
It seemed like every button the Royals pushed worked, and every button the Mets pushed led to failure.
The Mets were outplayed, outclassed, outsmarted, overran, and simply run over by this Kansas City team. They force teams to play up to them, and that never works for an opponent. The Royals deserve a lot of credit – that’s a fabulous team.
But this should not take away from a fabulous and memorable season for the Mets. This was a team picked by almost nobody to even contend for the Wild Card, let alone win the National League East and get to the World Series.
This was an amazing first step for this organization, and a surprising one at that. They were a pleasant surprise and a wonderful story all year long as they battled so many untimely obstacles and injuries, some controversy and instability only to pull together, revamp the lineup and go on this magical run into November.
They have nothing to hang their heads over. There’s work to do, clearly, but the Mets are close. Really, really close.
They should be proud of themselves even though they came up short against a fantastic Kansas City Royals club. I know I am proud to have covered them and to be a fan at this moment.
The Royals came from behind to defeat the Mets by the score of 5-3 in Game 4 of the World Series to take a commanding 3-1 lead over the Mets.
Here are my takeaways from the loss…
Mets sprung a leak late in a deflating loss.
Simply put, this was a fantastic, well played game.
Until the eighth inning for the Mets.
The Mets got on the board first in this one in the third inning when Michael Conforto wrapped a ball around the fair pole for his second home run in the postseason. Then Wilmer Flores followed with a single, who advanced to second on a wild pitch with Steven Matz at the plate. Matz then had the opportunity to move Flores to third, which he did.
With one out, Curtis Granderson hit a flyball to Alex Rios in right field. The Mets caught a break, as Rios forgot the outs, and Flores was able to tag with essentially no contest.
That made the score 2-0, and that’s how things would stay until the fifth inning when the Royals began to figure out Matz.
Salvador Perez hit a one-out double to center, and Alex Gordon proceeded to single him in to pull Kansas City to within a run. Matz then allowed a two-out single to pinch hitter Kendrys Morales, but induced a flyball to Alcides Escobar for the third out.
After Conforto homered for the second time in this game in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Royals struck right back against Matz, who was clearly running on fumes in the sixth inning. He allowed a well struck double by Zobrist to leadoff the inning, and then an RBI single to Lorenzo Cain to make it a 3-2 ballgame.
That ended Matz’s night, and Terry Collins gave the ball to Jon Niese, who worked with Bartolo Colon to find three big outs and strand Cain – the tying run – at third base to end the frame.
Addison Reed gave the Mets a dominant seventh inning, but after inducing a comebacker to Alcides Escobar for the first out in the eighth, Tyler Clippard issued back-to-back walks to put the tying and go-ahead run on. That ended his night, as Collins went to Jeurys Familia for a five-out save.
But Familia could not convert. It was partially his own doing, but partially the doing of Daniel Murphy, who booted a routine play off the bat of Eric Hosmer with runners at first and second and one out.
That play tied the game, and only made his difficult World Series burn even more.
Then, Mike Moustakas singled in Cain to give the Royals the lead, and crush the Mets souls once again.
It’s officially a blown save by Familia, but the inning unraveled well before Familia even came in the game, which begs the question why he wasn’t in the game for a six-out save. That doesn’t mean Familia isn’t guilty of anything in his outing, but it wasn’t all on him, either.
But in the end, it’s just another case of the Mets just could not do the little things late to secure the win. This had nothing to do with the Royals ability to put the ball in play – it had everything to do with the Mets inability to play fundamentally sound baseball.
Like in Game 1, they beat themselves with poor pitching against a team who does not walk, and an abysmal play to open the floodgates for Kansas City, and put the Mets in a serious hole in this World Series.
The perceived achilles heal of this team – going all the way back to Spring Training – has badly burned the Mets in the final days of October. They cannot catch and throw the ball, and it’s why they are one loss away from finishing as the runner up in 2015.
And of course, the game ended on a mental mistake by Yoenis Cespedes who represented the tying run at first base with one out. He was doubled off with a runner in front of him. It was about as unacceptable as anything that happened in the eighth inning, but it couldn’t have been a more fitting end to a horrid game for the Mets.
A wasted effort from Michael Conforto.
There’s been an on-going debate as to whether or not the Mets should be starting Juan Lagares over Michael Conforto, but that debate was pretty much locked shut on Saturday night.
In fact, now a debate should start over whether or not Conforto should be starting full-time, including against left-handed pitching.
He had a night he won’t forget thanks to his two-home run night. He made some history in the process (see below), but he single-handedly carried this offense to an absolute must win with an epic performance in Game 4.
He wrapped an 87 mph fastball around the fair pole in right field in the third inning to give the Mets the lead. Then in the fifth inning against LHP Danny Duffy, Conforto was fooled on a change-up but kept his hands back just long enough to get the barrel of the bat on a floater down the middle to rope his second home run of the night.
That was his first home run in the big leagues off a left-handed pitcher.
Not bad for a guy who was in the Florida State League 5 1/2 months ago.
He’s going to be a star if he stays healthy. He’s a growing, maturing hitter, he is stunningly good in left field, he’s a super kid and a class act and is reaping the rewards of his unique talent on the biggest stage in the sport.
Unfortunately, his efforts at the plate went for naught, thanks to an unforgettable eighth inning on the part of the bullpen and the defense.
All heart from Steven Matz.
Matz was lights out good over the first four innings of this game. He had a wicked curveball, a sneaky 95 mph fastball working, and he had complete control of the inner part of the plate, specifically against the right-handed hitters. He got consecutive strikeouts looking on Ben Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain to open the fourth inning on fastballs to paint the inside corner, but that was largely due to his ability to get ahead by pitching backwards in those sequences.
That was the story of his night, until he began to fade in the fifth inning.
His curveball began to get loopy in the fifth inning and his fastball lost quite a bit of zip, and the Royals began to take better swings against him at that point. They managed a run when Alex Gordon plated Salvador Perez with a single to right. He fought his way through the fifth inning and limited the damage to just one run.
But Collins put faith in his young left-hander and asked him to get some outs in the sixth inning. Unfortunately, he completely faded out when he allowed a leadoff double to Zobrist, and then Cain singled Zobrist in to bring the Royals back within one run.
That was it for Matz, who pitched his heart out and only faded presumably due to a lack of stamina.
A lot was on his shoulders tonight, and all things considered, he was fantastic. It’s too bad his outing got flushed down the drain.
A devastating loss.
There’s no other way to put it – this loss, and the way the Mets lost, was a bullet to the chest, and the Mets are on life support right now.
The last team to rally from a 3-1 World Series deficit was the 1985 Royals.
It’s a second missed chance to close out a game, and again, it can be chalked up to miserable defense and an inability by the bullpen to lock the game up.
It’s a shame, because its another game in this series where the Mets just beat the hell out of themselves and really should have won. And in the manner they did it is just soul crushing, especially after leading this game the entire night.
It’s a sickening loss. It’s bone crushing, and this one – like the loss in Game 1 – will most definitely torment the Mets all winter long if they cannot come back.
The fact that they could be – and probably should be – up 3-1 in this World Series makes it all even worse.
But they got what they deserved. When a team can’t play fundamentally sound baseball in a World Series game, it makes it next to impossible to win.
Other notes from Saturday:
Conforto became the youngest player to homer in a World Series game since Miguel Cabrera did so in the 2003 Fall Classic. He became the first rookie since Andruw Jones in 1996 to homer twice in a World Series game.
Conforto became the second Met to homer twice in a World Series game – Gary Carter hit two home runs in Game 4 of the 1986 World Series.
The Mets 1-6 in the order went 3-for-20 on Saturday.
The Mets defeated the Royals by the score of 9-3 on Friday night at Citi Field in Game 3 of the World Series.
The Mets now trail the Royals 2-1 in the World Series.
Here are my takeaways from the win…
Mets answered the call, took the first step.
The Mets fell down 2-0 in this World Series using an awkward approach on the mound, and a passive approach at the plate, at least for the most part.
So it was time for the Mets to change the program on both sides of the ball.
They did, and it paid off.
But it didn’t look that way early when the Royals did what they normally do, and that was attack Noah Syndergaard’s aggressive fastball approach, and tagged him for two runs in the first inning. Kansas City certainly benefitted from some bad calls on some balls and strikes, and translated them into a couple of soft singles which helped them to create a run after Ben Zobrist doubled against Syndergaard.
But the Mets immediately responded with a two-run home run from David Wright immediately following an aggressively-attacked single by the usually patient Curtis Granderson to leadoff the first.
But the Royals struck right back for two runs against Syndergaard, who was missing his located by just a bit in the second inning, although there’s no question the stuff was there for him right out of the gate. He allowed a soft single to Salvador Perez after he really had him struck out if not for a poor call again from the home plate umpire. Then Alex Gordon singled to right. Alex Rios then tagged a first pitch fastball and laced it to left field to plate Perez. The Mets almost fell victim to another bad call, this one at third base when Wright had tagged out Gordon before he reached third. But the Mets challenged, won and got the out.
It was huge, because Yordano Ventura successfully got a bunt down to get Rios to third, and then Travis d’Arnaud let a ball go through his legs to let the third Kansas City run of the night to score.
It was at that point Syndergaard figured it out. He retired the next 12 in a row thanks to getting his fastball down in the zone, getting a little more bite on his curve, and a little extra run on his two-seamer.
That afforded the Mets an opportunity to strike back, which they did in the bottom of the third inning thanks to a two-run home run for Curtis Granderson, and an RBI infield single from Michael Conforto.
From there, that’s all Syndergaard and the Mets really needed, although they scored some insurance runs in the sixth inning thanks in part to the return of Juan Uribe, who singled in the sixth Met run of the night in his first at-bat since September, a two-run single in what was the capper to a big night for Wright and a sac fly from Yoenis Cespedes to plate Granderson to complete the Mets scoring.
They made it all stand up to take an absolute must-win Game 3 against the Royals to get themselves back in this World Series.
Syndergaard really pitched a dandy of a ballgame. He allowed six hits through two innings, and one hit through the next four innings. He was just tremendous.
Syndergaard had the right approach early, but was victimized by some tough calls on some balls and strikes early in the first inning, and he was missing his location just a bit which caused him to give up some runs in the first and second innings.
But the key for Syndergaard is he stuck with what got him here and made him so successful even though he struggled early with his location: his fastball.
But he settled in, didn’t deviate from his game plan, pounded the lower part of the strike zone with fastballs (four-seam and two-seam) and curveballs, and actually got some swings and misses from the Royals.
It was clear how good his swing-and-miss stuff was when he just owned Alcides Escobar in the fifth inning, and then ate up Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer for three straight strikeouts.
He got 16 swings-and-misses in total, which is a story in and of itself.
It was a tough night, because early on the Royals were so aggressive, taking advantage of some tough calls, and just finding holes for hits. The only hard hit ball was from Ben Zobrist who hit a long double to center field, but other than that Syndergaard allowed a lot of broken bat hits in those early innings.
But he was changing eye levels after that second inning, going up and down, left and ride, and sneaking in some curveballs and change-ups to keep the Royals guessing and off-balanced. Then he willed himself out of a difficult jam in the sixth inning when suddenly, the Royals just stopped swinging at his off-speed stuff. That played a big role in his big night, which the Mets so badly needed.
A little relentlessness of their own.
The Mets completely transformed their approach against the Royals on Friday night, and for good reason since they just couldn’t get anything done trying to wait out their staff in the first two games of this series.
They got back to what made them good in August and September, and that is attacking strikes aggressively. They did not wait for strikes and fall into the spells of the Royals pitching staff. Rather, they were explosive early and ambushed Ventura and that vaunted Royals bullpen.
It’s an approach they’re simply going to have to employ until the Royals find a way to miss bats again early in the count. They don’t have the starting staff to get that done, but it’s up to the Mets to just put the pedal to the metal and take what they get and pummel them going forward in this series.
They did that on Friday night, and turned their must-win Game 3 into a laugher in what was a very entertaining and energizing game. They needed this, and now they’re back in the World Series.
Again, this was a really fun game. But all it means is it’s now 2-1 in the World Series. Yes, it’s better than 3-0 Royals, but none the less the Mets have work to do on Saturday to erase this deficit.
The good news is they’re facing Chris Young, a guy Dan Warthen, Terry Collins and some other Mets know real well from his time with the Mets a few years back. And, they got a really good look at him in Game 1 with his extended outing in relief. He could also be impacted by that extended outing, which might play into the Mets favor.
Perhaps more significant is they now have an idea on how to handle the Royals lineup, and how to neutralize them going forward. Hopefully Steven Matz did his homework and understands what he now needs to do on Saturday to get outs against this absurdly good offense, as like Syndergaard, he will be pitching the biggest game of his life for a team he grew up adoring.
No matter what, the Mets must find a way to tie this series up on Saturday, and put this in Matt Harvey’s hands on Sunday night.
But this was indeed a very good first step for the Mets.
Other notes from Friday:
Wright is the first Met to drive in four or more runs in a World Series game since Rusty Staub drove in five runs in Game 3 of the 1973 World Series.
The Mets are now 4-1 all-time in Game 3 of the World Series, having lost Game 3 of the 1973 World Series against the A’s at Shea Stadium.
The Mets are now 30-14 (.682) all-time at home during postseason play, the best home winning percentage of any major league team in the postseason.
Mets pitching held the Royals to just one hit over the final seven innings in Game 3.
The Mets fell to the Royals by the score of 7-1 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Wednesday.
The Royals now lead the best-of-seven World Series 2-0 over the Mets.
Here are my takeaways from the loss…
Outclassed on every level.
An unbelievably frustrating night and back-to-back disheartening defeats in the first two games of the World Series have the Mets leaving Kansas City down 2-0 in the Fall Classic.
After last night’s disappointing loss after blowing a 9th inning lead, the Mets came out flat and had no response on Wednesday night.
While they did hold a 1-0 lead in this game, the good times didn’t last long as the Royals strung together five hits and four runs off Mets ace Jacob deGrom in the 5th inning and, essentially, that’s all she wrote in this one.
The five hits for the Royals in the 5th were more than double the amount of hits the Mets recorded in this game, as they could muster up no offense against Johnny Cueto, who dominated them on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
So far in this series, Kansas City has absolutely outclassed the Mets in every single facet of the game. Their rotation has been better, their offense has been better, their bullpen has been better and their defense has been better.
It’s been incredibly frustrating to watch at this point, as this contact-hitting Royals team has been relentless to start this series against the Mets, ripping through this team’s greatest strength. In 12.1 innings, they’ve scored eight runs against Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Jeurys Familia.
They don’t strike out, they don’t make many mistakes, and they just never stop coming at you. Down 2-0 in the series, it’s looking awfully grim for the Mets.
Where’s the offense?
While their pitching has been mainly subpar so far in this series, it’s been the Mets offense that has been this team’s biggest failure in the World Series.
In two games thus far, the Mets have scored five runs on an infield single, solo home run, sacrifice fly, error and another single. That solo home run–coming off the bat of Curtis Granderson–is the Mets only extra-base hit of this series so far.
On Tuesday the offense was a problem, as the team was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, but it was all the more woeful in Game Two as the team mustered just two hits–both off the bat of Lucas Duda.
If this team wants to make a legitimate run at this thing, their approach at the plate is going to have to change, and it starts in Game Three in front of their home crowd at Citi Field. Someone has to step up.
Other notes from Wednesday:
Outside of Lucas Duda, the Mets combined to go 0-for-26 at the plate.
Johnny Cueto pitched the first complete game in a World Series by an American League pitcher since Jack Morris in 1993.
After going 0-for-2, Daniel Murphy‘s postseason hitting streak came to an end at 10 games.
The Mets will look to become the first team since the 1996 New York Yankees to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the World Series.
The Mets blew a late lead and ultimately fell to the Royals by the score of 5-4 in 14 innings at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Wednesday.
The Royals now lead the best-of-seven World Series 1-0 over the Mets.
Here are my takeaways from the loss…
A heart pounding roller coaster, coming down to execution.
This was a real dandy of a ballgame to open the World Series. It was a great battle between two great clubs. But it came down to execution, and unfortunately for the Mets, the Royals snuck away with this one as they executed just a little bit better.
The defense betrayed the Mets right out of the gate on Tuesday, thanks to an inside-the-park home run to leadoff the game from Alcidis Escobar on a ball that just had to be caught by Yoenis Cespedes but was not.
So it was 1-0 Royals, and that’s how it would stay until the Mets bats came alive in the fourth inning against Edinson Volquez, who lost his command after three outstanding innings.
They put runners at the corners thanks to a leadoff single from Daniel Murphy and a one-out single through the shift from Lucas Duda and more heads up base running from Murphy, who took third easily thanks to the over shift on Duda. Travis d’Arnaud plated Murphy on an infield single up the third base line. But it was played well by Mike Moustakas as he was able to keep the ball on the infield and prevent Duda from getting to third, or even scoring.
The Mets would take the lead when Curtis Granderson hit a solo home run in the fifth, and they’d snag another run in the sixth inning thanks to more heads up base running, this time from Yoenis Cespedes who led off the frame with a single. Cespedes took third when Duda singled through the shift again. That setup an RBI situation for Travis d’Arnaud, who struck out for the first out of the inning. But Michael Conforto took advantage of the situation and drove in Cespedes to give the Mets a 3-1 lead.
But it feels like the Mets should have had more at that point against Volquez, who was dealing with his own personal tragedy on the mound with his father’s passing earlier Tuesday.
With their missed opportunities and poor defense early, that left the door open for the Royals who responded with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to some good hitting and some good base running.
And so, the game was tied at three a piece, leaving it in the hands of the bullpens.
One would think the Royals have the advantage with a tie game late, but on this night, the Mets took advantage of a mistake by the sure-handed Eric Hosmer when he misplayed a hot shot off the bat of Wilmer Flores to his back hand with Juan Lagares on second base and two outs. The ball got away, and the Mets had the lead.
Things got a little dicey for the Mets immediately in the bottom of the eighth, however, when Tyler Clippard allowed a leadoff double to Ben Zobrist, his second double of the night. But then he got strikeouts from Cain and Hosmer, but couldn’t retire Kendrys Morales who drew a walk.
Terry Collins took no more chances, however, and gave the ball to Jeurys Familia who induced a weak groundball to Flores at shortstop, stranding Zobrist at third and securing the lead heading into the ninth inning.
But as the Royals always seem to do, they found a way against Familia in the ninth inning thanks to a one-out home run from Alex Gordon to tie the game at four.
It was very reminiscent of Game 1 of the 2000 World Series, when the Mets had a lead against the Yankees only to have then-closer Armando Benitez blow that one to send the game to extra-innings.
And as was the case 15 years ago, it seemed like only a matter of time that the Royals would eventually get it done.
It took them a while, but they eventually outlasted the Mets deep into extra innings, as the Mets had no answer for their former mate Chris Young, who just dominated them for three innings.
They had a big chance in the 12th inning but squandered it, leaving the bases loaded in the process. But in the 14th with Bartolo Colon working his third inning, Escobar reached on an error by Wright who made a poor throw to first base to start the inning. Then, Zobrist singled to right to send Escobar to third with nobody out.
Hosmer hit a sacrifice fly to plate Escobar, and that was that.
About Juan Lagares for a moment…
The Mets are no where without Juan Lagares on Tuesday. And I mean, no where.
Yes, the Mets got their go-ahead run on an error, but that isn’t even a factor if not for a tremendous at-bat again Kevin Herrera with two outs and nobody on. He battled one 100 mph fastball after the next, worked a deep count, and ultimately laced a single to center field in what was easily the best at-bat of anyone on both sides tonight.
He then stole second on a rare breaking ball from Herrera to get into scoring position. That’s when Flores laced that one-hopper to Hosmer which he booted, and the Mets had the lead.
But without Lagares’ amazing at-bat, there is no run for the Mets in the eighth inning in all probability.
It seemed like that sequence would be the difference for the Mets. Unfortunately, it wasn’t thanks to the Royals’ ninth inning heroics.
A bumpy #HarveyDay.
This was a really unusual game for Harvey. He pitched really well, but he almost seemed confused at times, especially at both ends of this game. He had trouble locating early as well, which suggests he was a little rusty with the extended rest.
He got tagged for an undeserved run in the first thanks to a really foolish misplay on the part of Cespedes, which resulted in an inside-the-park home run. But he was throwing a lot of fastballs, and the Royals did what they normally do and that is attack his fastball early in counts.
But then he found his groove, started pitching backwards, and kept the Royals off the board through five innings. He had retired 11 in a row heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, but then he got away from the game plan again, and the Royals again began to attack. It started with a double from Ben Zobrist, and then a single from Lorenzo Cain to put runners at the corners. Then Eric Hosmer drove Zobrist in on a sac fly he hit on an 0-2 fastball to make it 3-2.
Cain then went to work, stealing second easily. He came around to score when Mike Moustakas singled him home on yet another fastball to tie the game at three a piece.
Overall, it’s hard to complain. The Royals did what they do best, which is manufacture two runs in the sixth inning off of him. Sure, Harvey coughed up a lead, but the Royals are a good team and they deserve credit for pecking away at Harvey in that spot.
He pitched well. He was efficient, he worked quickly, and he might have been lifted prematurely, although the Royals did get to him in the sixth, which may have been the reason he was lifted for the seventh despite having thrown only 80 pitches.
The Mets definitely had some opportunities in this game. Some of which were taken away by the Royals defense, others just fell by the wayside. That’s evident in their 1-for-10 performance with runners in scoring position and the 11 men left on-base in Game 1.
They had a chance for a big opportunity taken away in the fourth inning when Mike Moustakas made an excellent diving snag on a groundball from Travis d’Arnaud up the third base line. That resulted in a run, but it kept the ball on the infield and potentially kept Lucas Duda from scoring, if not keeping him at second base for sure. Michael Conforto proceeded to pop out and Wilmer Flores grounded out, limiting the damage to one run.
Then in the sixth inning, they had another chance when they put runners at the corners with nobody out. They got a run on a sacrifice fly from Conforto, but stranded two more runners in that frame, which proved significant when the Royals came back and tied the game in the bottom half of the sixth inning.
The Mets had a two out chance in the seventh inning against the always tough Royals bullpen, but Cespedes flew out to end that frame, leaving the game tied.
They had two on in the 11th inning only to strand those runners.
But the Mets also didn’t really swing the bats very well at all after the seventh inning. They only had three hits from the eighth inning on, two of which off the bat of Lagares and the other from Wright.
And against these Royals, no team can leave the door open, and that’s what the Mets did. Eventually, the Royals took advantage of that open door, and slipped the rug right out from under the Mets.
In a way, the Mets got what they deserved as a result as they did absolutely nothing over the final six innings of this game.
The winner of the first game of the World Series has gone on to win the 69 times in the 110 previous Fall Classics (62.7%).
That has been the case in 11 of the last 12 and 16 of the last 18 World Series beginning 1997, with 2002 (San Francisco defeating Anaheim) and 2009 (Philadelphia defeating New York) the lone exceptions.
It has also occurred in 18 of the last 21 and 23 of the last 27 Series. In addition to San Francisco and Philadelphia, the only other exceptions in the last 27 Fall Classic were both by Atlanta, first game winners versus Toronto in 1992 and New York in 1996, but losers of each Series in six games.
So this is obviously a huge, huge miss for the Mets as they endeavor to win their first World Championship in 29 years. It’s an unfortunate loss considering they had one of the best closers in baseball on in the ninth, and he was two outs away from securing the win before blowing the save and giving the Royals the air they needed to eventually take this win away from the Mets.
There’s a long way to go of course, but this is indeed a stinger.
Other notes from Tuesday:
Escobar’s inside-the-park home run was the first such home run in the World Series since the 1929 Fall Classic It was the first leadoff inside-the-park home run in the World Series since 1903.
Tuesday’s Game 1 was the longest Game 1 in World Series history.
Lagares is the second player in baseball history to come off the bench, record two or more hits and steal a base in a World Series game. Last player to do so was Jim Thorpe in the 1917 World Series.
Gordon’s home run in the ninth inning was the first home run to tie a World Series game since Scott Brosius did it for the Yankees in the 2001 World Series.
With his two-hit performance, Murphy has recorded his fourth straight multiple-hit game in the postseason. He’s now 18-for-43 in the postseason.
Michael Cuddyer went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts on Tuesday – he’s now just 1-for-12 with seven strikeouts in the postseason and 2-for-his-last-29 overall.
Familia blew his first save since July 30.
On Tuesday, the Mets became the first team in baseball since the 1986 Mets to come from behind and take a lead in the eighth inning or later of a World Series game when those Mets came from behind and won Game 6 in the tenth inning.