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2014 World Series

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2014 World Series
San Francisco Giants logo
2014 World Series logo
Kansas City Royals logo
San Francisco Giants
88 - 74 in the NL
4 - 3
Series Summary
Kansas City Royals
89 - 73 in the AL

Contents

[edit] Overview

The 2014 World Series began October 21, 2014, featuring the San Francisco Giants, champions of the National League and the Kansas City Royals, champions of the American League. The Royals had home field advantage, following the AL's win in the 2014 All-Star Game. The Giants came out on top in seven games to claim their third Championship in five years.

It was an unprecedented match-up, the two teams having never met in any previous postseason. It was also only the second time that two wild card teams met in the World Series, after the 2002 World Series, and the first time that any team had come out of the Wild Card Game to play in the Fall Classic, both teams doing so. It was also the first time two teams with fewer than 90 wins met in the World Series.

[edit] The Teams

[edit] Kansas City Royals

It is fair to say that no one but the most optimistic fans expected to see the Kansas City Royals playing in the World Series this year. After being kept out of the postseason every year since winning the 1985 World Series, the Royals' main goal at the start of the season was simply to earn a berth to play in October. It was a possibility given the team's solid showing in 2013, but far from a given, and after a slowish start, it looked like the Royals were again headed for an early finish to their season. But they got hot in the second half, and thanks to the collapse of the Oakland Athletics, they not only made the postseason but got to host the American League Wild Card Game. A dramatic extra-inning win in that contest started an unprecedented winnings streak, as they became the first team to win eight straight games to start a postseason as they swept through both the Division Series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Royals had a clear identity as a team: pitching, speed and defense. In contrast, their 95 homers were the fewest in the major leagues, so power was not usually the way they won games, although they had had a few key blasts in the first three rounds of the postseason. Defense was first a case of having some excellent outfielders, an important feature in a Series played in two ballparks with very large outfields: LF Alex Gordon was a three-time Gold Glove winner at the position, CF Lorenzo Cain a speedster who could eat up ground in center, and Nori Aoki a very reliable if unconventional rightfielder; but back-up Jarrod Dyson was perhaps even better than the three, and manager Ned Yost had a habit of placing him in centerfield with a lead in the late innings, moving Cain to right. 1B Eric Hosmer was among the best in the game in scooping up throws, and 3B Mike Moustakas, SS Alcides Escobar and C Salvador Perez were also very good fielders.

On the mound, the team leader was James Shields (14-8, 3.21), one of the few players on the team with postseason experience prior to the season, but the biggest strength was an unbelievable bullpen. Closer Greg Holland had 44 saves with a 1.44 ERA during the season, and had already racked up six saves in the postseason. Set-up man Wade Davis (9-2, 1.00) was the most effective in the majors in the role this year, and Kelvin Herrera also posted a sub-2.00 ERA at 1.41. Rounding out the bullpen, rookie Brandon Finnegan, the first man to pitch in the College World Series and the World Series the same year, had a 1.29 ERA in limited action, while veteran Jason Frasor was at 1.53 ! Long man Danny Duffy, a starter most of the season, was also very good, with a 2.53 ERA during the season, lowest among the team's starters. The other starters were solid, with rookie Yordano Ventura having gone 14-10, 3.20 thanks to a blazing fastball. Two veterans, Jason Vargas (11-10, 3.71) and Jeremy Guthrie (13-11, 4.13) rounded out the starting rotation.

With the home run not a major weapon, the Royals' offense relied on lead-off men Escobar and Aoki, both .285 hitters, to get on base and Cain (.301) to move them along. All three were dangerous baserunners too, with 31, 17 and 28 stolen bases respectively. The RBI men were Gordon (19 HR, 74 RBI), Perez (17 HR, 70 RBI) and DH Billy Butler (66 RBI). And while there was no truly scary hitter in the starting line-up, the bottom of the order was also dangerous, with Hosmer (.270, 58 RBI), 2B Omar Infante (.252, 66 RBI) and Moustakas (21 doubles and 15 homers) all potential threats. Dyson was the main threat off the bench, with a .269 average and 36 stolen bases, with youngster Christian Colon, a .333 hitter, a wild card. Rounding out the bench were veteran OF Josh Willingham, pinch-running specialist Terrance Gore and back-up catcher Erik Kratz. In terms of manager, Yost was known as a man whose main strength was in putting together a team and helping inexperienced players to become major league contributors, something he had done very well in Kansas City; his in-game strategy, particularly his propensity to use the sacrifice bunt in all situations and his inflexible bullpen use had come under a lot of criticism, but apart from some head-scratching moments in the Wild Card Game, he had not made any obvious mistakes in what was his first postseason as major league manager, and there was no doubt he had instilled a winning attitude in his charges.

[edit] San Francisco Giants

In contrast to the Royals, the San Francisco Giants were not surprised to find themselves in the World Series, although the road taken was more arduous than anticipated. Having been World Champions in 2010 and 2012, the Giants were focusing on returning to the big dance from the start of the season, and took a large early lead in the NL West, before slowing down and being overtaken by the Los Angeles Dodgers or the division title, and then by the Pittsburgh Pirates for the right to host the Wild Card Game. But once the postseason started, the Giants' experience proved very valuable, as they breezed past the Pirates, then pushed aside the Washington Nationals in the Division Series and the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series, losing only twice in the process. They did not do it by pounding their opponents into submission, but by taking advantage of every tiny opportunity to score and every mistake by the opposition, on whom they exerted constant pressure.

The Giants were missing three key elements from their ideal line-up in this year's postseason. 2B Marco Scutaro had been injured and limited to only 5 games during the season; the search for a replacement had not been easy, but rookie Joe Panik had eventually asserted his claim, hitting .305 in 73 games and doing well in the important second spot in the line-up. The Giants would have liked to have Angel Pagan leading off and playing centerfield, after a .300 season of his own, but he had fallen to a season-ending injury too, and Gregor Blanco was playing in his place. Normally one of the best fourth outfielders in the league, the .260 hitter was a step below the regular. In left field, Michael Morse had been a good pick-up during the season, hitting .279 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs, but an injury had cost him the first two rounds of the postseason and limited him to pinch-hitting duties in the NLCS. He was available to be the Giants' DH in the Series, with 1B Travis Ishikawa starting in left. The Japanese-American was a journeyman hitter with some power, and also a liability in the vast outfield expanse of both ballparks where the Series was to be played.

The heart of the Giants' offense remained C Buster Posey, who hit .311 with 22 homers and 89 RBIs during the season. 3B Pablo Sandoval (.279, 16, 73), always at his best during the postseason, and RF Hunter Pence (.277, 20, 74), one of the most underrated players in baseball, were his two principal lieutenants. The rest of the starters included 1B Brandon Belt (.243, 12, 27), a power hitter with excellent plate discipline whose season had been cut short by injuries, and SS Brandon Crawford (.246, 10, 60), an excellent defender with some extra-base power. The bench was not particularly strong, with OF Juan Perez, IFs Joaquin Arias and Matt Duffy, and C Andrew Susac most likely to see action as pinch-hitters.

The Giants' best weapon was ace starter Madison Bumgarner (18-10, 2.98), one of the best in the role in the majors and a major contributor to the previous two Championship conquests. The rest of the rotation had less impressive numbers but were all veterans with lots of big game experience: Tim Hudson (9-13, 3.57), Jake Peavy (7-13, 3.73, but a 2.17 ERA after being acquired in a mid-season trade with Boston), and Ryan Vogelsong (8-13, 4.00). In the bullpen, the tag-team of former and current closers Sergio Romo (6-4, 3.72, 23 saves) and Santiago Casilla (3-3, 1.70, 19 saves) were excellent over the last two innings, and were complemented by two very good and experienced lefthanders in Jeremy Affeldt (2.28) and Javier Lopez (3.11), with Jean Machi (7-1, 2.58) another reliable arm. Most intriguing were the two long men, however: Yusmeiro Petit (5-5, 3.69) had proved his value by notching wins with clutch performances in the last two series, while former multiple-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (12-9, 4.74) had not been used at all, but remained a possibility to either start or relieve on short notice, because, on a good day, his stuff could be as electrifying as anyone's. The team's manager, Bruce Bochy, was also recognized as one of the best in the business, unflappable under most conditions, excellent at in-game maneuvers, and now in the World Series for the fourth time.

[edit] Umpires

Jeff Nelson was the replay official in Games 1 and 2 and Jerry Meals replaced him starting with Game 3; Brian O'Nora served as the assistant replay official for the entire series.

[edit] Series results

Game Score Date Pitchers Time (ET)
1 San Francisco Giants 7 Kansas City Royals 1 October 21 Madison Bumgarner (1-0) James Shields (0-1) 8:07 pm
2 San Francisco Giants 2 Kansas City Royals 7 October 22 Jake Peavy (0-1) Yordano Ventura (0-0) 8:07 pm
3 Kansas City Royals 3 San Francisco Giants 2 October 24 Jeremy Guthrie (1-0) Tim Hudson (0-1) 8:07 pm
4 Kansas City Royals 4 San Francisco Giants 11 October 25 Jason Vargas (0-0) Ryan Vogelsong (0-0) 8:07 pm
5 Kansas City Royals 0 San Francisco Giants 5 October 26 James Shields (0-2) Madison Bumgarner (2-0) 8:07 pm
6 San Francisco Giants 0 Kansas City Royals 10 October 28 Jake Peavy (0-2) Yordano Ventura (1-0) 8:07 pm
7 San Francisco Giants 3 Kansas City Royals 2 October 29 Tim Hudson (0-1) Jeremy Guthrie (1-1) 8:07 pm

[edit] Results

[edit] Game 1 @ Kauffman Stadium

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Giants 3 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 7 10 1
Royals 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 1
WP: Madison Bumgarner (1-0), LP: James Shields (0-1)
Home Runs: SF - Hunter Pence (1); KC - Salvador Perez (1)
  • Attendance: 40,459
Ground crew for Kauffman Stadium prepare the field for the 2014 World Series in Kansas City, Mo., Oct. 20, 2014

After a break of a few days caused by both League Championship series ending early, the World Series started with a match-up of aces, Madison Bumgarner for San Francisco and James Shields for Kansas City. It turned out to be a mismatch, though, as Bumgarner was in dominating form and Shields was chased early. As a result, the Giants won the game, 7-1. Both teams used their regular line-ups, with Bruce Bochy giving Michael Morse his first start of the postseason as his team's DH.

The Giants jumped to an early lead and never looked back. CF Gregor Blanco singled to lead off the game, then showed some aggressiveness when he took second on a fly out by 2B Joe Panik. A single by C Buster Posey moved him to third and 3B Pablo Sandoval followed with a double to right. Blanco scored easily, but Posey was thrown out at home, from RF Nori Aoki to 2B Omar Infante to C Salvador Perez. However, the next hitter, RF Hunter Pence, parked a pitch into the stands for a 3-0 lead. The Royals had a chance to get back in the game in the bottom of the 3rd when SS Brandon Crawford misplayed Infante's lead-off grounder for an error; 3B Mike Moustakas followed with a double, placing Infante on third base, but Bumgarner reached back for some extra heat, striking out SS Alcides Escobar and Aoki in succession. CF Lorenzo Cain worked a walk, but 1B Eric Hosmer grounded to second, wasting a golden opportunity to make the score closer.

The Giants then made sure that the Royals would not have another chance to close the gap easily by adding some more runs in the top of the 4th. Pence doubled and took third on a wild pitch by Shields. 1B Brandon Belt walked and Morse followed with a single to center, scoring Pence and ending Shields' night. Danny Duffy took over on the mound and Bochy replied by sending in Juan Perez to pinch-hit in place of LF Travis Ishikawa, playing the match-up game at this very early point of the contest. Perez laid down a sacrifice bunt, putting both runners in scoring position. Duffy then walked Crawford to load the bases and Blanco to force in a second run. He got out of the inning by striking out Panik and getting Posey to fly out, but the Giants were up, 5-0. Duffy did do a good job after that, keeping the Giants from scoring in the 5th and 6th innings, but Bumgarner extended his postseason scoreless streak on the road, which reached 32 innings at the end of the 6th inning.

The Giants tacked on two more runs in the 7th after Duffy issued a lead-off walk to Blanco, followed by a triple by Panik. Tim Collins replaced Duffy and got Posey to line out, but Sandoval picked up another RBI with a single to left and it was 7-0. After two outs in the bottom of the 7th, the Royals finally scored when Perez pulled one of Bumgarner's pitches over the left field fence. Javier Lopez then pitched the 8th for the Giants and Hunter Strickland took care of the 9th as Bochy had a comfortable enough lead that he did not feel the need to break out his top-tier relievers. A double play grounder wiped out a Royals baserunner in the 8th, and Strickland struck out pinch-hitter Josh Willingham for the third out of the 9th, sealing the victory.

[edit] Game 2 @ Kauffman Stadium

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Giants 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 9 0
Royals 1 1 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 7 10 0
WP: Kelvin Herrera (1-0), LP: Jake Peavy (0-1)
Home Runs: SF - Gregor Blanco (1); KC - Omar Infante (1)
  • Attendance: 40,446

Game 2 featured an interesting match-up of pitchers, with veteran and former Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy, now pitching more on guile and location than pure stuff, facing fireballing rookie Yordano Ventura for the Royals. There were no other changes to the starting line-ups.

The Giants began the game with a quick score again, this time coming off the bat of lead-off hitter CF Gregor Blanco who connected on a full count to send a pitch into the right field bullpen for a 1-0 lead. Ventura was not shaken however, and retired the next three batters, then Kansas City replied immediately. SS Alcides Escobar singled, but was caught stealing after one out, but CF Lorenzo Cain doubled to center. 1B Eric Hosmer then drew a walk and DH Billy Butler, sporting excellent career numbers against Peavy, singled to left to tie the score. The Royals then went ahead in the 2nd when 2B Omar Infante doubled with one out and came in to score on a double by Escobar. That lead did not last long either, however, as in the top of the 4th, 3B Pablo Sandoval and 1B Brandon Belt both hit doubles.

The score then remained 2-2 until the 6th inning. Peavy found his cruising rhythm, retiring 10 straight batters from the 2nd to the end of the 5th. In the top of the 6th, C Buster Posey singled and after one out, RF Hunter Pence also singled, ending Ventura's night. In came another fireballer, Kelvin Herrera and he retired the next two batters to end the threat. The Royals then won the game in the bottom of that inning. Cain was again the instigator, singling to center, and Hosmer followed by drawing a walk. Giants manager Bruce Bochy called on reliever Jean Machi to replace Peavy, but he made things worse by allowing a single to Butler. Cain scored to break up the tie and Ned Yost sent in Terrance Gore to run for Butler. With lefty LF Alex Gordon due up, Bochy called on Javier Lopez, who got out number one by getting Gordon to fly out. Next up was C Salvador Perez a right-handed hitter, so Bochy replaced Lopez with a righthander, rookie hard-thrower Hunter Strickland. The youngster had been impressive during the postseason after only nine regular season appearances at the major league level but he had shown a definite Achilles heel, a propensity to give up long hits to hitters able to square off on his fastball. That is exactly what happened after a wild pitch placed both runners in scoring position: Perez slammed a ball to deep center for a double, making it 5-2, and Infante followed with a homer to left, adding two more runs. Strickland yelled at Perez as he crossed home plate, prompting both benches to empty. He later apologized for his outburst, saying he was mad at himself because of his poor performance. Jeremy Affeldt came in to finish the inning, the fifth hurler for San Francisco, but the damage was done.

Herrera allowed a couple of walks in the 7th, but no runs. For the Giants, Tim Lincecum made his first appearance of the postseason in the bottom of the 7th. He retired the Royals in order and also the first two men he faced in the 8th, but appeared to hurt his back while facing Perez and had to be replaced by Santiago Casilla. Initial reports was that he was likely done for the Series, a hard blow for the Giants after he had shown Lincecum could still deliver the goods. Meanwhile, in the top of the 8th, Wade Davis did what he had done all season, which was set down the opposition in order, getting a pair of strikeouts. Greg Holland pitched the 9th even though it was not a save situation. Following his recent pattern, he got two quick outs - both strikeouts - allowed a meaningless single and then struck out Blanco to end the game.

[edit] Game 3 @ AT&T Park

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Royals 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 6 0
Giants 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 4 0
WP: Jeremy Guthrie (1-0), LP: Tim Hudson (0-1), SV: Greg Holland (1)
Home Runs: none
  • Attendance: 43,020

Game 3 was a a closely-fought affair, with both teams getting solid starting pitching, sparkling defence, excellent bullpen work and a few timely hits; the difference was that the Royals got one more of those hits than their opponents and ended up 3-2 winners. Two veterans were facing each other on the mound, Tim Hudson for the Giants, making his first World Series start at age 39, only younger than two others when they had made their initial start in the World Series, Joe Quinn in 1929 and Jamie Moyer in 2008. Jeremy Guthrie, starting for the Royals, wasn't as much of a greybeard, but he had almost 250 career starts under his belt before his Fall Classic debut. Royals manager Ned Yost changed his line-up to install his best possible defensive outfield, with Jarrod Dyson starting in center and batting 8th, and Lorenzo Cain moving from CF to RF. With DH Billy Butler unavailable in a National League park, 3B Mike Moustakas moved up from the 9th spot to the 5th left vacant by Butler.

The Royals got off to a quick start, as on the first pitch of the game, SS Alcides Escobar pulled a ball to the left-field corner of AT&T Park for a double, then on the very next pitch, LF Alex Gordon grounded to first, putting Escobar on third base; he then scored on another ground out by Cain with the Giants conceding the run by playing deep and the Royals had a 1-0 lead. They put some more pressure on Hudson in the 2nd as Moustakas led off with a single and 2B Omar Infante followed by drawing a walk. C Salvador Perez then hit a sharp line drive to left field which LF Travis Ishikawa managed to snag with a diving catch, and Dyson ended the inning by grounding into a double play. The Giants mounted a sort of threat in the bottom of the 2nd when RF Hunter Pence reached on a one-out infield single, but was caught stealing by Perez; 1B Brandon Belt also singled but was stranded when Ishikawa lined out to right to end the inning, giving Cain a chance to show he could make a great sliding catch too.

Both pitchers then dominated the next stretch, with 20 consecutive outs being made from Ishikawa's line-out to end the 2nd until a one-out single by Escobar in the top of the 6th. They did it not with power, but by changing speed and location effectively, as the two starters only recorded a total of two strikeouts and issued only one walk over the first five innings, all of them by Hudson. This resulted in a lot of balls in play, and both teams put on a fielding clinic with a number of outstanding plays being made. Escobar's 6th-inning hit changed things, however, as Gordon followed by hitting a ball to the deepest part of the field beyond CF Gregor Blanco's reach for a double on which Escobar scored the second run. Cain then hit a sharp grounder on which 3B Pablo Sandoval made a nice play for the second out, preventing Gordon from going further. Bruce Bochy called on his lefthanded specialist, Javier Lopez, to come out now, with a pair of lefties coming up. The first of these, 1B Eric Hosmer, dug in for a tremendous battle with Lopez, forcing him to throw 11 pitches before singling up the middle; Gordon scored and it was 3-0. That tremendous at-bat was what decided the game as Lopez then struck out Moustakas after another drawn-out battle to end the inning.

The Giants' offense finally showed some life in the bottom of the 6th when SS Brandon Crawford hit a lead-off single. With Lopez due up, Bochy called on pinch-hitter Michael Morse, who after hitting a ball into the upper deck but barely foul, lined a double just outside the reach of a diving Moustakas at third. Crawford scored the Giants' first run, and Yost replaced Guthrie with Kelvin Herrera, normally his 7th-inning man. The fireballer walked Blanco, but then got out of the jam with limited damage, getting 2B Joe Panik on a comebacker, C Buster Posey on a ground ball to second that scored a second run, and Sandoval on a grounder to first, while hitting triple digits on the radar gun. It was now 3-2 for the Royals with three innings left and the two outstanding rival bullpens in charge.

The relievers were uniformly excellent from that point forward. For the Giants, Sergio Romo gave up a two-out single to Dyson in the 7th, but that only brought up Herrera to make his first career plate appearance, as Yost wanted to keep him in the game a bit longer; unsurprisingly, he struck out on three pitches to end the inning. Herrera walked lead-off hitter Pence to start the bottom of the 7th, but recovered by striking out Belt. A couple of lefties were then due up, so Yost called on rookie lefthander Brandon Finnegan; in making his first appearance of the Series, he became the first man to pitch in the College World Series and the Fall Classic in the same year, as he was still a student at Texas Christian University the previous June. Seemingly unimpressed by the pressure-filled situation, the 21-year-old got pinch-hitter Juan Perez to fly out to left and struck out Crawford on a nasty slider on a full count to end the inning. After striking out Escobar to start off the 8th, Romo gave way to Jeremy Affeldt, with Joaquin Arias coming in to replace Crawford at shortstop in a double switch. Affeldt continued the good work, getting four straight outs in the 8th and 9th. Meanwhile, Wade Davis pitched another perfect inning in the 8th, striking out Arias and Panik, while Blanco tried to bunt his way aboard but was foiled by Perez's cat-like reflexes, as he pounced on the ball, picked it up barehanded and threw out Blanco as he slid head-first into the first-base bag. Santiago Casilla got the last out of the 9th for San Francisco, striking out Infante, then Greg Holland came out to pitch the 9th for Kansas City. He got Posey to fly out to left, and then Sandoval to hit a comebacker, which he fielded cleanly; by going 0-for-4, the "Kung-Fu Panda" ended a remarkable streak of reaching base in 25 straight postseason games. Pence was the Giants' last hope, but he too hit a comebacker to Holland to end the game.

[edit] Game 4 @ AT&T Park

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Royals 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 12 1
Giants 1 0 1 0 2 3 4 0 x 11 16 0
WP: Yusmeiro Petit (1-0), LP: Brandon Finnegan (0-1)
Home Runs: none
  • Attendance: 43,066

The Giants' bats woke up in the middle of Game 4, allowing them to tie the series with an 11-4 win. There was some speculation before the game that the Giants would make a radical move by asking Madison Bumgarner to start on short rest, but it did not happen: both teams had their fourth starters on the mound, Ryan Vogelsong for San Francisco and Jason Vargas for Kansas City. The Royals had the same starting line-up as in Game 3, while the Giants tweaked a bit while facing a lefty, with Juan Perez starting in left field in place of Travis Ishikawa, with Bruce Bochy not wanting to start Michael Morse whose bat was hot, but who had not played the field in more than a month. Mo'ne Davis, the star of the 2014 Little League World Series, threw the ceremonial first pitch.

Once again, a team scored in the 1st inning, and this time it was the Giants. Vargas started the inning by walking CF Gregor Blanco and then throwing a wild pitch. After one out, Blanco stole third base and C Buster Posey drew a walk. RF Hunter Pence followed with a grounder to third, but the Royals were unable to turn a double play as he beat the throw to first, allowing Blanco to score. However, the Royals had a big inning in the 3rd. Vargas made the first out, but SS Alcides Escobar singled. He was forced at second by LF Alex Gordon, but Gordon then stole second base and moved to third on an infield single by RF Lorenzo Cain. 1B Eric Hosmer followed with a single that tied the score. Vogelson then issued a walk to 3B Mike Moustakas, loading the bases. 2B Omar Infante and C Salvador Perez both followed with two-out singles, which made the score 4-1 and ended Vogelsong's night early. Jean Machi came in to record the last out, striking out Vargas after issuing another walk, to CF Jarrod Dyson.

The Giants could have folded at that point, but they would never have reached the Series if that was their habit. They immediately got a run back in the bottom of the 3rd, when Posey drove in Matt Duffy, who had pinch-hit for Machi, with a two-out single. Bochy then brought in his secret weapon, long reliever Yusmeiro Petit. For the third time this postseason, he came up with a clutch performance, giving up only one hit in three innings to keep the Giants in the game and for good measure singled in his only at-bat, becoming the first reliever to do so in a World Series game since Al Leiter in 1993. In the bottom of the 5th, 2B Joe Panik led off with a double and Ned Yost decided to go to his bullpen early, calling on Jason Frasor. After one out, Pence singled to drive in a run and Yost made another pitching move, bringing in lefty Danny Duffy. He allowed a single to 3B Pablo Sandoval and walked 1B Brandon Belt, loading the bases. Perez was next up, and he hit a sacrifice fly to center to tie the score, Yost having burned two relievers in vain.

San Francisco won the game in the 5th. The score was still 4-4, and Petit, his work brilliantly done, gave way to pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias, who led off with a single against rookie Brandon Finnegan, the Royals' fourth pitcher already. Blanco followed with an another single, but the Royals thought they had picked off Arias at second, but failed to have the call reversed in a video review. Panik then laid down a sacrifice bunt, which led the Royals to walk Posey intentionally, loading the bases with one out. The strategy worked at first, as Pence grounded to shortstop Escobar, who threw out Arias at home, but the Giants then got a couple of clutch hits, by Sandoval and Pence, driving in three runs. Yet Finnegan was still on the mound to start the 7th, and he allowed a lead-off single to SS Brandon Crawford and a walk to Morse, pinch-hitting for Jeremy Affeldt, who had pitched a scoreless 7th. Now Yost made a move, calling in the diminutive Tim Collins, who could not pull a David vs. Goliath moment. Blanco bunted for a single, with both runners taking an extra base on Collins' throwing error. Panik then doubled in two more runs and after Posey made the first out, Pence doubled as well, driving in a fourth run to make the score 11-4 and put the game completely out of reach. The Royals were unable to generate anything against Sergio Romo in the 8th and Hunter Strickland in the 9th, and the Series was tied again.

[edit] Game 5 @ AT&T Park

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Royals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
Giants 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 3 x 5 12 0
WP: Madison Bumgarner (2-0), LP: James Shields (0-2)
Home Runs: none
  • Attendance: 43,087

Game 5 was a rematch of Game 1 in terms of starting pitchers, and once again Madison Bumgarner, continuing an outstanding postseason, had the upper hand over James Shields. The Royals once again fielded their line-up designed to neutralize AT&T Park's vast outfield expanse, while for the Giants, Travis Ishikawa was back in left field with a righthander on the mound.

For the first time in the series, there was no scoring in the opening inning as both teams got a two-out single but stranded the baserunner. C Salvador Perez led off the 2nd with another single, but Bumgarner then showed his tremendous stuff by striking out 3B Mike Moustakas, 2B Omar Infante and CF Jarrod Dyson in order. The Giants then got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning in typical small ball fashion. RF Hunter Pence and 1B Brandon Belt led off with back-to-back singles, the latter on a completely unexpected bunt that took advantage of the Royals' defensive shift, leaving the left side of the infield unguarded. Ishikawa followed with a long fly out to center that was deep enough to allow both runners to advance a base. SS Brandon Crawford then hit a grounder to second, and Pence scored the game's first run. The Giants doubled their lead in the 4th when 3B Pablo Sandoval led off with a single and, after Shields struck out Pence and Belt, Ishikawa and Crawford also singled.

There was no more scoring for a while, but the outside world intervened as around the 5th inning, players learned some sad news when word came out that St. Louis Cardinals young outfielder Oscar Taveras had just been killed in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic. Only ten days ago, Taveras was playing against the Giants in the NLCS and at 22, he seemed headed for a brilliant career; most affected was Giants back-up outfielder Juan Perez, who was a close friend of Oscar and his older half-brother, Raul Burgos, a former Giants farmhand, and who broke out in tears in the clubhouse. But there was a close game being played, and moments later, Perez was sent in to pinch-run for Ishikawa, who had hit a one-out single in the 6th. Kelvin Herrera took over for Shields in the 7th and after a flawless inning, he allowed a lead-off single to Sandoval and another to Pence to place himself in a jam in the 8th. Royals manager Ned Yost called on the usually unhittable Wade Davis in an attempt to keep the game close, and he struck out Belt for the first out, but then proved to be fallible. Perez, who had stayed in the game to play left field, was next up. He hit a double to the top of the centerfield wall that scored both runners and he advanced to third when SS Alcides Escobar's relay home got away from Perez. Arriving on third base, an emotional Perez pointed to the sky in tribute to his fallen friend. He then scored as Crawford drove in his third run of the game with a single, before Davis struck out Bumgarner and CF Gregor Blanco to end the inning.

Bumgarner did indeed get to bat in the bottom of the 8th, because he was having one of his great days and had kept his pitch count around 100. With a comfortable 5-0 lead and no further start on the horizon, Bruce Bochy could afford to stretch him out and avoid going to his bullpen. Bumgarner responded by retiring all three Kansas City batters in order in the 9th to seal the win, his second of the series and the first complete game shutout in a World Series since Josh Beckett had thrown one in Game 6 in 2003. It was also his second shutout of the postseason, following his gem against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card Game. He walked none and struck out 8 in throwing a four-hitter. The two teams were headed back to the Midwest with the Giants a win away from their third World Series triumph in five years.

[edit] Game 6 @ Kauffman Stadium

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Giants 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
Royals 0 7 1 0 1 0 1 0 x 10 15 0
WP: Yordano Ventura (1-0), LP: Jake Peavy (0-2)
Home Runs: KC - Mike Moustakas (1)
  • Attendance: 40,372

The Royals scored early and often in Game 6, turning the tables on the Giants by shutting them out in turn to foce a seventh game. The two starters were the same as in Game 2, veteran Jake Peavy for San Francisco and rookie Yordano Ventura for Kansas City. The loud and wildly enthusiastic Kauffman Stadium crowd was back as well, and Ventura had a special purpose in pitching the game, having also been a friend of deceased St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, to whose memory he dedicated his performance. Michael Morse was back in the Giants' starting line-up as the designated hitter, as was Billy Butler for Kansas City, and Ned Yost re-formed his regular outfield, with Nori Aoki returning to right field and Lorenzo Cain to center. As a result, 3B Mike Moustakas moved back down in the batter order, but to the 8th spot, not to the 9th, in recognition of his important contributions with the bat since the start of the postseason. It was 2B Omar Infante who took the 9th spot.

The 1st inning was quiet, although Cain made a nice catch in centerfield to rob 2B Joe Panik of possible extra bases; RF Hunter Pence hit a one-out double for the Giants in the top of the 2nd but was left stranded, and then all Hell broke loose in the bottom of the frame. RF Alex Gordon opened with a single and C Salvador Perez followed with another one, placing Gordon on third base. Moustakas hit a double to open the score and after Infante struck out for the first out, SS Alcides Escobar hit a ground ball to 1B Brandon Belt. Belt decided to force Perez to stay on third base, but by doing so, he allowed Escobar to beat him to the bag and the bases were loaded. Aoki followed with a single to left, advancing everyone by a base and ending Peavy's night very early. Magic man Yusmeiro Petit came into the game, but he was unable to save the Giants this time. Cain greeted him with a single that scored two more runs, making it 4-0. Petit then threw a wild pitch, advancing Cain to second and 1B Eric Hosmer doubled in two more runs. Butler was up next, and he also hit a double, making the score 7-0. Petit finally got the last two outs, on a ground ball and a pop-up, but the damage was done as there was no coming back from such a deep hole.

Ventura cruised along for seven innings, walking five but allowing only 3 hits and no runs while striking out four. He did load the bases with walks in the top of the 3rd, but C Buster Posey grounded into an inning-ending double play. Unable to close the gap, the Giants saw the hole become even deeper when the Royals added an eighth run in the bottom of the 3rd, on doubles by Infante and Cain against Jean Machi. They would score once more in the 5th, when Escobar doubled in Infante, and in the 7th, when Moustakas hit a solo homer off Hunter Strickland, once more plagued by the gopher ball. The final score was thus 10-0, with Bruce Bochy saving his top relievers for Game 7 by having Machi go three innings and starter Ryan Vogelsong pitch the 8th. He also got a number of bench players to play a few innings on defence. For his part, Yost did not take the opportunity to use his bench players, but did give the last two innings to less prominent members of his bullpen, with Jason Frasor in the 8th and Tim Collins in the 9th. For the Royals, one couldn't help but think back on their last big postseason shutout, the 11-0 manhandling of the Cardinals in Game 7 of the 1985 World Series, in the same ballpark.

[edit] Game 7 @ Kauffman Stadium

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Giants 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 8 1
Royals 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 0
WP: Jeremy Affeldt (1-0), LP: Jeremy Guthrie (1-1), SV: Madison Bumgarner (1)
Home Runs: none
  • Attendance: 40,535

Fittingly, Game 7 was a tense affair after the back-and-forth shutouts in the previous two games, but the Giants came out on top to claim their third Championship in five years. While the starters were veterans Tim Hudson and Jeremy Guthrie, the game quickly became a battle of the bullpens, but with an unexpected star, Madison Bumgarner, who completed his absolutely dominant performance in the Series by pitching five shutout innings and adding a save to his two earlier wins as a starter and be voted the winner of the World Series Most Valuable Player Award. Expecting a tight game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy made on change to his line-up, having the better-fielding Juan Perez start in left field and bat 9th in place of Travis Ishikawa, in spite of the presence of a righthander on the mound. Interestingly, there was not a single substitution among the nine starters on both sides during the game, as both managers stepped back and let their best players try to decide the contest. In a symbolic move, the Royals called on bret Saberhagen, winner of Game 7 in 1985, to throw the ceremonial first pitch.

Neither starter was particularly sharp in what was the biggest assignment of their respective long careers. While there was only one baserunner in the 1st inning, both teams put up a pair of runs in the 2nd. For the Giants, 3B Pablo Sandoval started things off when he was hit by a pitch; RF Hunter Pence and 1B Brandon Belt followed with back-to-back singles, loading the bases with no one out. The Giants could not muster the back-breaking hit that would have broken the game open, however, but DH Michael Morse and SS Brandon Crawford both managed to lift a ball to the outfield, allowing a baserunner to score each time. That lead did not last however. In the bottom of the inning, DH Billy Butler led off with a single for the Royals, and LF Alex Gordon followed with a double to the right field corner, allowing the slow-footed Butler to run all the way home. C Salvador Perez was then hit by a pitch and fly balls by 3B Mike Moustakas and 2B Omar Infante allowed Gordon to advance one base each time, scoring the tying run. SS Alcides Escobar followed with a single and Bochy decided to use a quick hook. He had said before the game that everyone on his staff was available to pitch in tonight's game, and he brought in Jeremy Affeldt for one of the earliest appearances of his career. Affeldt got RF Nori Aoki to hit a ground ball to end the inning.

Guthrie retired the Giants in order in the top of the 3rd, then one of the turning points of the game occurred in the bottom of that inning. CF Lorenzo Cain led off with a single and 1B Eric Hosmer hit a grounder to second on which Joe Panik made a diving stop and thew to SS Crawford, forcing out Cain. The original call was that Hosmer had beaten Crawford's relay to first base, but Bochy challenged the call and a video review overturned it, ending the budding rally. The Giants then immediately scored what would prove to be the deciding run. Sandoval once again was the instigator, this time leading off the 4th with an infield single off Guthrie. Pence followed with another single and Sandoval took third base when Belt flied out to left for the first out. It was now Ned Yost's turn to make an early call to the bullpen, and in came Kelvin Herrera. However, Morse greeted him with a single to right, putting the Giants ahead, 3-2. It was still early, but that would turn out to be the last run of the game. Herrera struck out Crawford and got Perez to ground out to end the inning, keeping the game close.

Affeldt pitched a perfect inning in the bottom of the 4th, completing another excellent outing and in the 5th, Bochy decided to bring out his ultimate weapon, Game 5 starter Bumgarner. It was a given that he was available to pitch in this game, but after only two days' rest following a 117-pitch complete game, the supposition was that he would only be there for an inning, maybe two. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Bochy sensed that his lefthander was playing on another level at this point, and decided to let him go as long as he would last, knowing that however good his other relievers were, none was better than his ace when he had his best stuff going. And he had that stuff on this night. Infante led off the 5th with a single and Escobar bunted him over to second, but Bumgarner got Aoki to line out, with LF Perez making a nice play, and struck out Cain to end that inning. He then retired the Royals in order in the 6th. Wade Davis succeeded Herrera for the Royals in the 7th and he pitched a perfect inning as well, but down one-two-three went Kansas City in the bottom of the 7th. The Giants got a two-out double from Sandoval in the 8th, but he was left stranded by Davis. The Royals had six outs left, but Bumgarner was now in cruising mode, making it 12 straight outs with another perfect inning. Greg Holland came out for the 9th, and he got the Giants in order, striking out two batters in the process. For the Giants, there was no sign of Santiago Casilla or Sergio Romo in the bottom of the 9th: Bumgarner was writing history, and Bochy was giving him the stage to do so. Hosmer struck out swinging and Butler popped out to first in foul territory, making it 14 straight batters retired by the lefthander. Down to the last out, Gordon revived the fans' hopes by singling to center; the ball got away from CF Gregor Blanco all the way to the wall and Perez took some time to pick it up, allowing Gordon to race all the way to third base. After the game, there was some speculation about whether he should have tried to run home as well, but both Gordon and third base coach Mike Jirschele explained that they did not think there was a significant chance of making it safely, so Gordon stopped at third base. With the tying run only 90 feet away, Bumgarner was not going to fail however: he got Perez to also pop up in foul territory, this time to third, and when Sandoval caught the ball, the Giants were World Champions.

The last team to win a Game 7 on the road had been the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates. In the post-game interview, Bumgarner, who had allowed one measly earned run in 21 innings, stated: "You know what? I can't lie to you anymore. I'm a little tired now." He added: "I wasn't thinking about finishing the game or how many pitches I was going to go or pitch count. I was just wanting to get outs."

[edit] Further Reading

  • Chris Haft: "Giants' latest title fueled by proven bunch: Bumgarner's heroics clinch championship set up by roster's perfect blend", mlb.com, December 26, 2014. [1]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Giants win World Series with a 1-man rotation", USA Today Sports, October 30, 2014. [2]

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