Statcast: Cain's wheels produce another crucial run
The scorching-hot Alcides Escobar led off the bottom of the first inning with a long fly ball and an ensuing sprint around the bases that resulted in an inside-the-park home run.
Aside from the rare first-inning homer, Statcast™ also tracked some impressive baserunning from both teams, a crucial game-tying home run and a defensive gem in extra innings. Here's a closer look at each of those plays from the World Series opener, courtesy of Statcast™.
Cain's wheels produce run
After already making history by scoring from first base on a single twice this postseason, Lorenzo Cain was at it again in Game 1 of the World Series. This time, however, Cain first put himself into scoring position by stealing second base. Representing the potential tying run after his sixth-inning single, Cain reached a max speed of 20.5 mph as he swiped second base.
Cain later raced home on a Mike Moustakas single up the middle, hitting a max speed of 19.1 mph as he went from second to home in only 7.52 seconds. Since June 1, Cain had been tracked by Statcast™ going from second to home 17 times -- and this was his second-fastest time during that span.
Escobar started off the 111th World Series in dramatic fashion, dashing around the bases for an inside-the-park home run to lead off the bottom of the first inning. The play began with Escobar hitting a fly ball deep into the left-center-field gap that glanced off center fielder Yoenis Cespedes' leg and caromed away from both he and left fielder Michael Conforto. While this was taking place near the warning track, Escobar reached a max speed of 20 mph while sprinting all the way around the bases in just 15.1 seconds. Of the nine inside-the-park home runs hit this season, Escobar's time around the bases registered as the fourth fastest.
As for Cespedes, he logged a respectable route efficiency of 95.7 percent on his way to coming up just shy of making the catch. He also covered a total distance of 109 feet on the play.
The inside-the-park homer was reminiscent of another Royals player's dramatic dash around the bases from the final game of last year's World Series. With Kansas City trailing the Giants by one run and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Alex Gordon hit a line drive to center field that skipped past Gregor Blanco and rolled all the way to the wall. Gordon reached a max speed of 18.7 mph on that now-infamous play, before being held up at third base, where he was ultimately stranded.
Lagares manufactures run of his own
Two innings after Cain relied on his wheels to tie the game, Mets outfielder Juan Lagares did the same to put his club back in front. Following his two-out single in the top of the eighth, Lagares reached a max speed of 19.8 mph as he swiped second to quickly put himself in scoring position.
The stolen base paid off in a big way, as Lagares then scored from second on an error by first baseman Eric Hosmer. Lagares hit a max speed of 19.3 mph, while going from second to home in just 6.73 seconds. Of the 14 times Statcast™ had tracked Lagares going from second to home this year, this was the fifth time he did so in less than seven seconds.
Cespedes' speed leads to run
Though he's made plenty of noise with his bat since joining the Mets, Cespedes used his speed to help manufacture a run in the sixth inning of Game 1. After a leadoff single, Cespedes raced from first to third on a Lucas Duda base hit through the right side of the infield. Cespedes reached a max speed of 19.4 mph, while needing only 7.19 seconds to go from first to third. That's the fourth-fastest first-to-third time that Statcast™ had tracked for Cespedes all year.
From there, Cespedes then kicked things into another gear in order to race home on a Conforto sacrifice fly two batters later. Cespedes reached a max speed of 21.5 mph as he barreled down the line before sliding into home plate safely extend the Mets lead to 3-1 at the time.
Gordon hits clutch game-tying homer
Gordon picked a perfect time to hit one of his longest -- and hardest -- home runs of the year. With the Royals trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth, Gordon teed off on a 97-mph offering from Jeurys Familia, turning it around at 108.1 mph. The ball traveled a projected 421 feet away to center field, tying the game at 4-4. Both the exit velocity and projected distance were Gordon's third-highest marks for the year. His longest and hardest-hit home run of the year came all the way back on April 28 against the Indians, when he hit a projected 468-foot blast that left his bat at 109.3 mph.
Granderson robs Dyson of extra bases
Tuesday's 14-inning game may have ended much sooner, if not for a sensational grab by Curtis Granderson to lead off the bottom of the 11th. Though Royals speedster Jarrod Dyson ripped a 105.8-mph line drive toward the right-center-field gap, Granderson took his first step just 0.10 seconds after contact. He then reached a max speed of 16.6 mph as he covered 49 feet, all at a route efficiency of 93.2 percent. The catch likely robbed Dyson of at least a triple, given that he had already reached a max speed of 20.3 mph before Granderson reeled it in.