For 4 1/2 innings on Saturday night, game four of the World Series followed a familiar and comforting script. With a lead and a dominant bullpen lurking, Royals fans were dreaming of victory. The Giants, however, had other plans. And they would proceed to show everyone why they’ve already won two championships in the past four years, by storming from behind and thrashing the Royals 11-4.
Both team’s starting pitchers were ineffective and were pulled early on. Ryan Vogelsong gave up seven hits and four runs in 2&2/3rds for the Giants, while Jason Vargas gave up six hits and three runs in four+.
But the Giants bullpen — led by Yusmeiro Petit — would stand tall, shutting down the Royals attack cold, while the soft middle of the Royals bullpen (compared to the stout back end) would end up being exposed in a big way.
The first big turning point in the game came in the top of the third inning. Already leading 4-1, the Royals had the bases loaded and two out with Vargas at bat. Despite having zero plate appearances on the season, he looked pretty good swinging the bat, as you might expect from a pitcher whose career BA is a respectable .262. But he would end up taking a called third strike, after losing track of the count on the previous pitch (much to the amusement of his teammates) when he tried to take first base on ball three.
The Giants would subsequently start their comeback with one run in the bottom of the third, before romping through the fifth, sixth and seventh innings with nine more runs, salting the game away and smashing my hopes and dreams – hopefully for one night only. Most of the damage came at the expense of Royals rookie Brandon Finnegan (five hits / two walks / five runs) and Tim Collins (three hits / one walk / two runs).
For the Giants, Hunter “Haywire” Pence was 3-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Former Royal Gregor Blanco was 2-5 with a walk and three runs scored. And Joe “Don’t” Panik was 2-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
All told, Giants batters cranked out sixteen hits and worked six walks, while the Royals managed twelve hits and two bases on balls.
On the positive side of the ledger, Royals bullpen stars (Herrera, Davis, and Holland) got a night’s rest, and should be fresh for game five on Sunday night. And KC fans will have at least one more opportunity to watch a World Series game at Kauffman Stadium. See – there’s always a silver lining (opioids help)