Now it’s game on.
The Kansas City Royals pulled themselves up by the bootstraps Wednesday night and evened the World Series with a 7-2 victory over San Francisco, wiping out whatever momentum the Giants had mounted in their dominating first-game victory.
Let’s be honest here. Had Kansas City lost a second straight game at home, a sweep could have been in the offing. Sure, the Royals won their only World Series title in 1985 after losing their first two at home, but going to San Francisco down 2-0 would have been a hole they couldn’t have dug themselves out of.
The next two games are vital for the Royals. The Giants are sending out pitchers with losing records, while Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Vargas were nails in the playoffs. Kansas City really needs to win these two, since you have to believe it’s a mere formality for the Giants in Game 5, considering Madison Bumgarner is the best pitcher on the planet right now while James Shields is basically throwing batting practice.
Wednesday’s game didn’t start well for the Royals when light-hitting but pesky Gregor Blanco drove a Yordano Ventura straight heater right out of the park. Just as Tuesday when the Giants were up 3-0 after five batters, Kauffman Stadium sounded like a tomb and you could hear the unison of “uh-ohs.”
However, unlike their timid Game 1, the Royals bounced right back with runs in both the first and second innings. Some defensive lapses allowed the Giants to tie the game in the fourth, but the Royals put together a typical Royals uprising with five runs in the sixth.
While Omar Infante’s homer was the most spectacular blow, it was Salvador Perez’s rocket of a two-run double that was the big hit. Perez was so woeful throughout the American League postseason with his lack of plate discipline that the Royals could have sent out pitchers with a better chance of getting a hit. His homer Tuesday might have been the impetus for him and he followed that up in Game 2.
It also was good to see Infante go yard, as well as double. The Royals need hitting throughout the lineup, especially since Alex Gordon has been MIA. Gordon looks totally lost at the plate right now as he’s picked a bad time to have one of his droughts.
The Royals’ rock-solid defense has had a few chips, even Lorenzo Cain missed a ball he’d normally catch. Nori Aoki has been spinning his wheels in right field and taking some strange routes on balls, though he’s generally out by the sixth or seventh.
Most important from Game 2 was the Royals getting their confidence back, their swag if you will. Of course, they didn’t expect to sweep the Giants, but their Game 1 performance reeked of stage fright.
They now know they belong. Game 3 probably sets the tone for the rest of the Series and hopefully Guthrie can continue his recent string of good performances.