KANSAS CITY (Reuters) - The Kansas City Royals rallied to beat the New York Mets 5-4 in 14 innings and draw first blood in the marathon opener of the best-of-seven World Series on Tuesday.
With the bases loaded and nobody out, Eric Hosmer hit a sacrifice fly to right off 42-year-old reliever Bartolo Colon to score Alcides Escobar and end an enthralling start to the Major League Baseball championship.
Escobar reached first on an error by third baseman David Wright and advanced to third on a single to right by Ben Zobrist. After an intentional walk to Lorenzo Cain, Hosmer hit the long fly to right that set off a celebration on the diamond.
“I wanted to redeem myself from earlier,” said Hosmer, whose eighth-inning error allowed the Mets to take a 4-3 lead and made him the potential goat of the game. “That’s the beauty of this game. You always have a chance to redeem yourself.”
The five-hour, nine-minute battle, the longest ever World Series Game One, was won by scheduled Game Four starter Chris Young, who threw three hitless innings with four strikeouts.
The Royals sent the game to extra innings in dramatic fashion when, trailing 4-3 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Alex Gordon clouted a long home run off Mets closer Jeurys Familia to tie it 4-4.
It was Familia’s first blown save since July and Gordon’s blast stunned the Mets.
“He doesn’t give up home runs,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “So we were all shocked by it.”
Gordon said Familia tried to quick-pitch him, but that he was ready for it after seeing him try to slip a delivery past team mate Salvador Perez.
“I wanted to make sure when I got on the box I was ready to hit,” Gordon said. “And he tried to quick pitch me and left the ball right there to hit, and with a guy like that you can’t miss pitches that he gives you to hit.”
The long, tense struggle tested the resourcefulness of both managers as 36 players were used, including 13 pitchers.
It was a tumultuous contest filled with twists and turns.
Before the first pitch, there was a note of sadness as word spread that the father of Kansas City’s starting pitcher Edinson Volquez had died back home in the Dominican Republic.
Then the Mets were jolted by the first pitch thrown by their Game One starter Matt Harvey.
Escobar drove a fly deep to left-center which glanced off centerfielder Yoenis Cespedes’ glove after some miscommunication with leftfielder Michael Conforto, and was kicked away as Escobar dashed around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
New York tied the game with a run in the fourth, took the lead on a Curtis Granderson solo home run in the fifth and made it 3-1 in the sixth.
Harvey had retired 11 Royals in a row heading to the bottom of the sixth but that streak ended when the Royals rallied with two runs to tie it.
As the game wore on, the managers turned to veterans Colon and Young, 36. They matched zeros for two innings before the climactic 14th.
“Two things you don’t want in Game One of the World Series: One is to go 14 innings and the other is to lose,” said Royals manager Ned Yost.
“To find a way to grind that way out against a great team ... and to win it in the 14th inning was big.”
Game Two of the Fall Classic will be played on Wednesday at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.
Writing by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Andrew Both