Royals pull even in Fall Classic with 7-2 win over Giants in Game 2
Here's how K.C. evened the World Series at 1-1
With their championship pursuit at a critical juncture -- trailing the Giants, 1-0, entering Game 2 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium -- the Royals put their hopes on a 23-year-old rookie Wednesday night. Right-hander Yordano Ventura, whose fastball reaches triple digits, became the first rookie pitcher to start a World Series game for Kansas City.
Getting the ball for San Francisco was a righty who can only dream of that velocity. Jake Peavy made his second career Fall Classic appearance four days shy of the anniversary of his first one, a two-run, four-inning effort against the Cardinals on Oct. 26, 2013.
Just like they did in Game 1, the Giants struck in the first inning to dampen the mood at Kauffman Stadium. Gregor Blanco -- the first batter of the game -- homered to right on a 98-mph fastball for a 1-0 San Francisco lead, quieting the fans in Kansas City:
Blanco's leadoff homer was the 19th in World Seris history. Last one was hit by Boston's Dustin Pedroia in Game 1, 2007- Chris Haft/SF Giants (@sfgiantsbeat) October 23, 2014
The fans didn't stay quiet for long, however: Billy Butler's two-out single to left, which followed Lorenzo Cain's gutsy decision to stretch a hit to center into a double, knotted the game at 1:
Alcides Escobar put the Royals on top, 2-1, in the second with a two-out double to right:
That lead -- Kansas City's first of the series -- didn't last long, either. Brandon Belt's double to right in the top of the fourth plated Pablo Sandoval:
The score stayed 2-2 until the Royals' huge sixth inning. Butler broke the tie with an RBI single to bring Cain home. One batter and two pitching changes later, Salvador Perez made it 5-2 with a double to left-center.
Oh, Kauffman Stadium is L-O-U-D.- Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) October 23, 2014
It only got louder. Omar Infante capped the inning with a two-run homer, sending Kauffman Stadium into delirium and both teams to San Francisco with one win apiece:
The Game Changer
Kansas City's bullpen -- specifically shutdown relievers Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland -- is well documented. Wednesday, manager Ned Yost went to that well a bit earlier than normal, and it paved the way for the Royals' game-winning rally.
Kelvin Herrera entered with two on and one out in the sixth, as Yost opted to pass over all options between Ventura and his late-inning triumvirate. Herrera escaped without issue. Belt flew out and Michael Morse grounded out:
The rest seemed easy. The Royals scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth, and David and Holland tossed a scoreless frame apiece, combining for five strikeouts and one hit. Holland completely fooled Blanco to end the game.
Other Key Players, Plays
Eric Hosmer provided another exceptional exception to the "Don't dive into first base" rule of thumb -- playing defense. He stabbed at Blanco's sharp grounder to first, then won a race to the bag:
The Giants had already scored one run in the fourth when Belt ran them out of the inning. Morse's fly ball turned into a double play that is better left to moving image than written word:
Infante's trip around the bases following his long ball in the sixth ended with some feisty word exchanges. San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland and Perez started jawing at each other for unclear reasons. Perez himself was unsure why the benches cleared:
Tim Lincecum pitched! No, really! The two-time Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star, who had been relegated to the bullpen this season, pitched for the first time since Sept. 28. He threw 1 2/3 perfect innings until exiting with an apparent lower-body injury:
The teams have Thursday off before play resumes at 8 p.m. ET Friday in San Francisco. The Giants didn't come away with a Game 2 win, but with the series tied, 1-1, they now possess home-field advantage and will play the next three games at AT&T Park.
The Giants turn to right-hander Tim Hudson, who has allowed five runs in 13 2/3 postseason innings, opposite Kansas City righty Jeremy Guthrie (one run in five innings). It will be the Fall Classic debut for both men.