Royals rally late, win Series clincher in 12 innings

By Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange

The Royals win the World Series four games to one. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — As it turns out, all the writers of “Back To The Future II” had to do to predict the 2015 World Series winner was stick with the team that won it all the year “Back to The Future” took place.

For the first time since 1985, the Kansas City Royals are world champions.

The Royals came back from a two-run deficit in the ninth inning of Game 5 on Sunday night before pinch hitter Christian Colon laced a tiebreaking single in the 12th inning as Kansas City beat the New York Mets 7-2.

The Royals are the first team to win the championship the year after losing in the World Series since the 1989 Oakland Athletics. Kansas City lost in seven games last season to the San Francisco Giants.

“It’s awesome, it’s amazing, I get a chance to see what San Francisco felt like last year,” center fielder Lorenzo Cain said in a beer- and champagne-soaked visitors’ clubhouse. Cain hit a three-run double to cap the five-run 12th inning.

“I couldn’t be happier, not only for myself but for my teammates, the coaching staff, the GM, the staff — everybody involved,” Cain said. “The fans. It’s just a total effort by everyone.”

Meanwhile, the Mets’ championship drought reached its 30th season as the Royals’ wait ended. New York reached the World Series after being the lowest-scoring team in the National League through July 24, when the Mets were 49-48.

“Tremendous year,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I just told the players: I’ve done this for a long, long time, and this is the most fun I’ve ever had.”

The Royals didn’t have a lot of fun between championships, during which the franchise experienced 20 losing seasons, served as the poster boys for the supposed chasm between big and small markets and became a popular punch line for professional futility. In a 2006 episode of “The Simpsons,” Marge Simpson browsed a broken-down used book store that had “Kansas City Royals: Forever Champions” in stock.

“The hard part was when all of you beat up on us because we wouldn’t have the short-cut strategy,” Royals owner David Glass said to the media in the locker room. “(General manager) Dayton (Moore) got beat up a lot. (Manager) Ned (Yost) got beat up a lot, but they stayed the course.”

Moore and Yost fielded plenty of barbs this season as well but got the last laugh by ending a three-decade championship drought with an approach as retro in today’s analytical game as music still on MTV. The strikeout is more accepted now than ever, but Kansas City wore down opposing teams with a grinding, aggressive, one-through-25 approach built on putting the ball in play.

That was what the Royals did in ending their championship run the way they began it in a 12-inning win over the Oakland Athletics in the 2014 American League wild-card game and sustained it while facing elimination down four runs in the eighth inning in Game 4 of this year’s AL Division Series against the Houston Astros.

“For us to go into the ninth inning down two (Sunday), it never entered my mind that we were not going to score two or three to take the lead at that point,” Yost said.

Mets right-hander Matt Harvey shut the Royals out on four hits through eight innings while being serenaded with chants of “HAR-VEY! HAR-VEY!” from the sellout crowd of 44,859.

Harvey convinced manager Terry Collins to let him pursue his second career complete game and shutout. However, after he sprinted to the mound, Harvey issued a leadoff walk to Cain, who stole second and scored on a double to left by first baseman Eric Hosmer.

“I said, ‘Matt, you’ve got us exactly where we wanted to get you,'” Collins said. “He said, ‘I want this game in the worst way.’ So obviously I let my heart get in the way of my gut.”

Harvey was pulled for right-hander Jeurys Familia, who retired third baseman Mike Moustakas on a grounder that moved Hosmer to third. With the infield in, Perez grounded to third. Mets third baseman David Wright looked back Hosmer and fired to first, but Hosmer broke for home with the ball in the air.

First baseman Lucas Duda fired home, but the throw was wild as Hosmer slid in with the tying run. Familia became the first pitcher to blow three save chances in the same World Series.

Only one runner on either team got into scoring position between the bottom of the ninth and the 11th before the Royals busted out in the 12th.

“We feel like our bullpen is going to able to hold the fort until we can find a way to score,” Yost said.

Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who was selected the World Series MVP after batting .364 with two RBIs, led off the 12th with a single down the right field line against right-hander Addison Reed (0-1).

Pinch runner Jarrod Dyson stole second and went to third on a groundout by left fielder Alex Gordon before trotting home on the hit by Colon, who was batting for the first time this postseason.

“Hadn’t had an at-bat in two, three weeks, he gets sent up there, gets the biggest knock of his career, the biggest knock of the whole season and made us world champions,” Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said of Colon’s Series-winning hit.

Shortstop Alcides Escobar hit an RBI double before Cain’s bases-clearing hit removed all suspense.

Right-hander Luke Hochevar (1-0) threw two hitless innings for the win before right-hander Wade Davis struck out three in the bottom of the 12th to seal the win.

Davis fanned shortstop Wilmer Flores and flung his glove in the air to set off a wild celebration at the pitcher’s mound.

“We set out to win it all,” Cain said, “and we did.”

NOTES: The World Series extended into November for the fourth time (2001, 2009, 2010). … The ceremonial first pitches were thrown by players from the Mets’ two World Series champions: Cleon Jones from the 1969 team and Darryl Strawberry and Mookie Wilson from the 1986 squad. … The Royals had seven multi-walk innings in the playoffs. They had just 50 such innings during the regular season.

 

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