Error opens door for Royals rally
NEW YORK — A charmed October for Eric Hosmer and the Kansas City Royals ended with one more comeback. Now, a win in November and they'll be World Series champions.
Second baseman Daniel Murphy's error on Hosmer's grounder in the eighth inning keyed another rally by the tenacious Royals, and Kansas City startled the New York Mets 5-3 Saturday night to take 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven matchup.
"There's just a belief amongst the guys that it doesn't matter what the score is, what the lead is, what the deficit is. The guys just believe that they're going to find a way to get it done," Kansas City starter Chris Young said.
Edinson Volquez returned Saturday from his father's funeral in the Dominican Republic and can pitch the Royals to their first crown in 30 years. He faces Matt Harvey in a rematch of Game 1, when Volquez went six innings just hours after his dad died.
Seemingly spooked by the raucous New York crowd early on Halloween, the Royals rallied for the seventh time in 10 postseason victories this year, this one from a 3-1 deficit.
The Royals set a major league record with their sixth postseason comeback from at least two runs down, STATS said.
"What they did tonight, is what they've been doing the whole playoffs," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
"It's a group of guys that have the utmost confidence in themselves. I don't think at any point these guys thought that they were going to lose tonight," he said.
Neither did a pocket of KC fans who clustered behind the Royals dugout after the final out, chanting loudly for their team.
Rookie Michael Conforto, who starred at Oregon State University, homered twice as the Mets built a lead, helped when right fielder Alex Rios lost track of the outs on a sacrifice fly. Conforto became the first rookie to connect twice in the World Series since Atlanta's Andruw Jones did it at Yankee Stadium in 1996.
But as the calendar was an hour from flipping to November, Murphy's amazing month slipped away. So did the Mets' best chance at evening the Series, done in by another Royals' late surge.
"We certainly talked about it before, they truly don't ever stop," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
With runners on first and second on a pair of one-out walks by Tyler Clippard, Jeurys Familia relieved. So steady in his new role as closer this year, Familia had allowed Alex Gordon's ninth-inning, tying homer in a Game 1 loss.
This time, he came on with a 3-2 lead and got Hosmer to hit a soft grounder toward Murphy as 44,815 fans stood, waving their orange towels in hopes of an inning-ending double play.
But the slow chopper sneaked under the glove of the NL Championship Series MVP as he charged in. Murphy, who would've only had a play at first, appeared to glance at the runner and failed to get his mitt down. The ball rolled and rolled toward right field, and Ben Zobrist raced home from second base as Familia crouched on the mound.
"There's no way to describe it. It hurts when you feel like you got a direct hand in a ballgame," Murphy said. "I didn't do the job. That's the most frustrating thing."
Surely no one in the silenced Citi Field stands expected this scary ending. It got worse for the Mets in a hurry, too.
Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez followed with RBI singles to break away.
"Hoz did a good job of putting the ball in play and make some things happen," Moustakas said. "It's just kind of how the ball bounced today. It kind of rolled right for us."
Ryan Madson pitched a perfect seventh for the win, and Wade Davis worked two scoreless innings for his first save. Clippard took the loss.
Not known for his defense, Murphy still made every play look easy in the NLCS and almost single-handedly slugged the Mets to their first World Series since 2000 with seven homers in nine playoff games. He's lost his power in the Fall Classic but had a one-out infield single in the ninth.
Yoenis Cespedes followed with another single, but he was doubled off first base when Lucas Duda hit an easy liner to third base and Moustakas tossed it to first to finish off another incredible comeback for the Royals.