Jesse Spector: ‘Royals Lineup More Dangerous Than Last Year’

After more than five hours, 11 pitching changes, an inside-the-park homer, a game-tying ninth-inning homer, a couple of errors, and a boatload of intentional walks, the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets, 5-4, in the 14-inning marathon that was Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday.

Eric Hosmer’s sacrifice fly plated Alcides Escobar, who scored the walk-off run.

“I’m borderline shocked that Alcides Escobar did not fall down between third and home on that sacrifice play and actually made it and that game ended,” Sporting News national MLB writer Jesse Spector said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I half expected to just be here until Game 2 started at that point. It was just nuts. Bartolo Colon had wiggled out of a couple of jams and three intentional walks.”

It was the first time a pitcher intentionally walked three batters in a World Series game since 2002, when John Lackey intentionally walked Barry Bonds three times.

“That’s a little bit of a different situation than Colon intentionally loading the bases twice – once successfully, once not,” Spector said. “It’s obviously not on Colon that that game ended the way it did. He’s the losing pitcher, but (there was) the David Wright error. Yeah, he gave up he single to (Ben) Zobrist, but that’s the only hit that Colon allowed – a ground ball that got by – and that was enough to make the difference in a game that both teams could have won about 100 different ways. And finally the Royals did.”

And they have Alex Gordon to thank. With the Royals trailing 4-3 in the ninth inning, Alex Gordon homered to tie the game and give Jeurys Familia his first blown save since July.

Yes, it appears the 2015 Royals are quite similar to the 2014 Royals with their never-say-die attitude. There is, however, one key difference.

“They hit better,” Spector said. “They’re a little bit more equipped to hit for power. You didn’t see it as much tonight because Kendrys Morales came out of the game for the pinch runner and they did some different things in the game and their lineup wasn’t in as good of a position. They had some easier outs – Jarrod Dyson being one of them. Paulo Orlando isn’t a guy who’s hit a lot at the major league level. But they’re a more dangerous lineup and more multi-dimensional than they were last year. And other than that, though, it’s really the same mentality. Even as they were getting dominated by (Madison) Bumgarner in Game 7 last year, they came down to the last inning and had the tying run on third base in Alex Gordon. This time, Alex Gordon got there and got around the bases and made sure nobody was going to have to drive him in. He took care of that himself.”

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