No HR, but Murphy has 10-game hit streak
Mets' playoff star notches 2 singles in World Series opener
KANSAS CITY -- Daniel Murphy had seven cracks at extending his record six-game homer streak in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium. But to no avail.
The Mets second baseman had two singles in the epic, record-tying 14-inning, 5-4 loss to the Royals. That extended his hitting streak to 10 games, with at least one hit in every one of the Mets' postseason games this year and a homer in seven of them. That latter set a club record.
The homer streak is over, but it doesn't matter to Murphy.
"I'd rather win four straight games and not hit another homer," said Murphy, who set a club record with his 17th and 18th hits in one postseason. "There we go. I'm not kidding about that."
Don't discount the fact that the Mets have won six of the seven postseason games in which Murphy has homered. So his uncommon power display this postseason is one of the big reasons why the Mets are in the World Series for the fifth time in club history and first since a five-game loss to the Yankees in 2000.
The Mets trail the Royals, 1-0, with Game 2 back at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday night. Pregame begins at 7:30 p.m. ET with the game starting at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
Murphy is hitting .400 (18-for-45) in the postseason with those seven homers, two doubles, 11 RBIs and 12 runs scored. He scored the first run for the Mets after leading off the fourth with a single off Royals starter Edinson Volquez.
Consider that Murphy came into the playoffs having hit only 14 homers during the regular season and 62 in 3,619 plate appearances during his seven big league seasons.
Now he's the toast of New York.
"I don't know if I'd call it a hot streak," said David Wright, Murphy's teammate and the team's captain. "He's always been a very good hitter where he's taken his singles, but now he goes up there and he's trying to do damage. He's very capable of doing that. He's got a tremendous eye."
Murphy wasn't so sure about that keen eye on Tuesday night. He said he missed pitches, particularly late in the game, striking out to lead off the 12th against Royals' 6-10 right-hander Chris Young. He also popped out to short against Young to end the Mets' half of the 14th.
It marked just the first time this postseason that Murphy struck out twice in a game, although it was the first extra-innings affair the Mets have played. So, give him a little slack.
Young struck out the side in the 12th and there was a period there from the 10th through the 12th innings when eight of the Mets' nine outs were on whiffs, the other on a sacrifice bunt.
"Pitching took over late in the game," Murphy said. "Personally, I didn't have very good at-bats there in extra innings. There are a couple of pitches I'd like to have back."
When asked what pitches in particular he was talking about, Murphy said: "All the ones thrown down the middle that I ended up fouling into the stands."
The lefty-swinging Murphy has become so sophisticated about his approach at the plate that on one particular pitch he peered back at plate umpire Bill Welke when a strike was called. That one could have been a tad off the outside corner.
Murphy struck out only 38 times in 538 plate appearances this past season and eight times in 46 plate appearances since. He whiffed three times in each of the first two series, once each against Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta -- four of the top National League pitchers this year.
Murphy also homered off all of them, twice against Kershaw in an NL Division Series the Mets won in five games.
Murphy has worked hard at eliminating the strikeouts; he was precipitously down from a career high of 95 in 697 plate appearances in 2013 and 86 in 642 plate appearance in 2014.
"He knows mechanics about his swing that are incredible," Wright said. "The fact is, he goes up there and looks for a specific pitch and puts an excellent swing on it. It's just a combination of the mechanics and the mindset."
Murphy will take the 10-game hitting streak into Game 2. The homer streak? He can just start another one.
"It doesn't matter. We didn't win a ballgame," he said. "We'll get ready. We'll sleep tonight. Hopefully as an offense, starting with myself, I can have some better at-bats tomorrow."