Photo by Nhat V. Meyer
If the Giants were hoping to win the World Series at home, the Royals had a different plan. In the best of seven series, Kansas City took a 2-1 lead after edging San Francisco 3-2 for the win tonight. It was a hard fought game from both teams but the Royals came out on top giving both an offensive and defensive effort from the start.
"The first pitch got away from him," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "He got ambushed there."
"It's a tough one to swallow, it was a hard fought game on both sides," Tim Hudson said. "It was the first pitch of the game and normally pitches don't get swung at on the first pitch too often. You've got to give him credit he could've easily popped it up but he doubled and got me in a jam right away. They got in position to draw blood early and they did."
It took Hudson some time to settle in on the mound. Assuming he might've had some jitters pitching in his first World Series, Kansas City took advantage early. Alcides Escobar leadoff the first with a double and scored on Lorenzo Cain's ground out to first. The Royals made it a 1-0 game.
But San Francisco's defense prevented the possible next two runs scored in the second. Travis Ishikawa saved two runs on Salvador Perez's line drive to left field. Hudson allowed a single to Mike Moustakas and walked Omar Infante putting two on with no outs.
Jarrod Dyson followed with a grounder to shortstop Brandon Crawford to rally a double play to end the inning. By the third, Hudson was dialed in. He retired eleven in a row before surrendering Escobar's second hit of the night in the sixth. Escobar leadoff the frame with a single and Alex Gordon followed with a RBI double extending Kansas City's lead 2-0.
"Good pitching and good defense," said Buster Posey. "They just got one more big hit there, than we were able to."
The bullpen came in and surrendered another hit to the Royals, Eric Hosmer hit a RBI single and extended their lead 3-0. Javier Lopez struck out Moustakas to end the inning but Kansas City's offense was dominant behind Jeremy Guthrie's performance tonight. He pitched five shutout innings and retired ten straight until the sixth.
"They did a great job, they shut us out," Bochy said. "We couldn't do anything off of Guthrie and their bullpen did a good job."
Photo by Jose Carlos
Guthrie tossed five innings allowing four hits on two runs. The bullpen came in and yielded a leadoff single to Crawford and pinch-hitter Michael Morse drove in the Giants first run with a RBI double. He's been an offensive threat coming off the bench. Morse then scored on Posey's ground out to second cutting the lead 3-2.
"It's a seven game series, can't win off two games," said Morse. "We don't give up, and the beautiful thing about baseball is there's always tomorrow. We're determined and this team is focused."
With the tying run at third, Pablo Sandoval grounded out to first base to end the threat. The Giants never got a runner past first after the sixth. Hunter Pence started the seventh with a leadoff walk putting the tying run on but the Royals bullpen never allowed another runner on base. Rookie southpaw Brandon Finnegan came into the eighth and retired the three straight batters stranding one, after Wade Davis gave up a leadoff walk.
"We put up two in the sixth and they answered right away," Hosmer said. "But the bullpen came in and stopped that momentum on their side, shut the door and gave them no hope at the end."
The Giants will have to win one of the two games at AT&T Park to extend this series back to Kansas City. They have their ace, Ryan Vogelsong ready to go today and Madison Bumgarner on standby if Bochy chooses to make that switch. It's been a known fact that when the Giants score first they usually win the game. The goal for today is to score early and set the tone.
"We're going to have to score early," said Morse.
Notes: In other good news, Angel Pagan has returned to the team after having successful back surgery a month ago. The doctors cleared him to fly and he immediately hopped on a plane to be here to root his team on to win a possible third World Series in five years. Pagan who was a hug part of this team during the season was back with his team for the first time after missing the final two months of the season.
Pagan's surgery included shaving a herniated disc in his back which caused pain in the later part of the season bumping up Gregor Blanco as the leadoff batter. He's recovered sooner than excepted and will be back 100% by the time Spring Training resumes in February. Pagan's been patiently waiting to rejoin his teammates while rehabbing back at home in Puerto Rico.
"I wish I can go out there and pinch-hit," said a jovial Pagan. "During my rehab I was only able to do light walking. But I'm much more advanced than expected and still have to follow protocol. Now, I'm here for my team and whatever I can do to support them at this time. I'm just happy to be back!"