The Kansas City Royals are your 2015 World Series champs.
Sunday night in Queens, the Royals pulled off what was possibly their greatest comeback of the postseason yet when, down 2-0 entering the ninth, they scored two runs in that inning to tie it, and then grabbed a hold of the Commissioner’s Trophy with both hands by scoring five runs in the 12th.
Behind an inspired Edinson Volquez, and a performance by its bullpen that, much like the comeback, may be its best performance to date, Kansas City won Game 5 by the score of 7-2, and won the World Series for the first time since the George Brett days of 1985.
In both innings that Kansas City scored runs, catcher Salvador Perez was right in the thick of the rallies, knocking in the tying run in the ninth on a horrendous throw by Lucas Duda, and then a lead off single in what became the final inning.
Not only did Perez come up big in Sunday’s game, but in the Series he supplied eight hits for his team, including two doubles, and drove in a pair of runs.
For his efforts, he was named World Series MVP.
Making up for a some-what shaky performance in Game 1, New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey pitched brilliantly for eight innings Monday. Harvey struck out nine batters, and allowed just three hits through the first 24 outs.
But, after telling manager Terry Collins to keep him in the game for the ninth inning, the wheels fell of the bus.
Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain, who stole second to be in scoring position for Eric Hosmer to drive him in on a double over the head of Michael Conforto in left field. That hit knocked Harvey out of the game, and two batters later, Perez, for all intents and purposes, knocked any chance of a Mets World Series out of possibility.
Kansas City’s bullpen was lights out.
It allowed just two hits and struck out six batters in the six innings of combined effort, following Volquez’s six innings on the mound in which he allowed just one run on two hits, a solo home run to Curtis Granderson to start the third inning.
Comebacks have been the recipe to success for the Royals over their past two trips to the postseason.
Just in this year’s playoffs alone, Kansas City won six games after trailing by multiple runs, setting the record for such heroics that was previously owned by the 1996 Yankees. In the World Series alone, three out of the five games featured the Royals trailing entering the eighth inning – they won all three of those games.
Three times in the American League Division Series Kansas City was down by multiple runs and came back to win, including in Game 4 of that series when the Royals trailed the Houston Astros 6-2 in the eighth and came back to win 9-6.
Still, no comeback may be greater than what the Royals did in last year’s AL Wild Card game; their way of saying, “We are for real.”
That game also went 12 innings.
Oakland scored five runs in the sixth to take a 7-3 lead with its best pitcher on the mound. Kansas City, though, scored three runs in the eighth and a sacrifice fly brought in the tying run in the ninth to send the game into extras.
And even after Oakland scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th, that didn’t seem to faze to Royals, who responded by plating two runs in the bottom of the frame to move on.
Ironically, in the Royals first postseason comeback, and in their most recent playoff rally, the same unlikely hero showed up.
Christian Colon’s lone at bat in the 2014 AL Wild Card game resulted in a pinch-hit RBI-single that tied the game in the 12th. His lone at bat in the 2015 World Series, a pinch-hit RBI-single to left field that gave the Royals a 3-2 lead in the 12th.
Aside from if you were cheering for the Mets, there is no reason to forget this year’s World Series. It had everything a good series has.
It had great pitching performances, timely hitting, and late-inning drama. Add in two extra inning games in a five-game series between two franchises that hadn’t won a baseball championship since the 80’s, and it was great.
Who knows what will happen to these two teams between today and the start of the regular season next spring? But no matter what happens, I think we’ll be talking about this year’s World Series for a while.
Congratulations to the Kansas City Royals.