It’s been two years since the Kansas City Royals defeated the Mets in one of the greatest World Series openers ever. From beginning to end, it was an absolute classic. Let’s look back at the thrilling win.
(Editor’s note: This is one of several on-this-date posts that KoK will publish throughout the 2017 postseason. They will highlight the postseason success of the Kansas City Royals over the years with particular emphasis given to 2014 and 2015—given the strong ties to the current squad.)
The Kansas City Royals have won two World Series titles in their history. Despite occurring three decades apart, the two are connected through the date of Oct. 27. That’s because on that date in 1985, the Royals won their first World Series after defeating the Cardinals in Game 7. Exactly 30 years later, Kansas City would host a remarkable Game 1 against the New York Mets.
How it Happened
That 2015 game opened with a rare home run. Alcides Escobar got things going with a bang, hitting an inside-the-park home run on the first pitch of the bottom half of the first inning.
Things only got crazier from there. Edinson Volquez, who started for the Royals, pitched three scoreless innings before Travis d’Arnaud tied the game on an RBI-single in the fourth inning. Volquez, who pitched unaware his father had died before first pitch, allowed a go-ahead home run to Curtis Granderson in the next inning. The Mets added another run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly for a 3-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Matt Harvey had settled down after the strange opening to the game. But the Kansas City Royals put together a patented rally in the sixth inning to knot the score. Ben Zobrist doubled and Lorenzo Cain singled to put pressure on Harvey. Eric Hosmer hit a sac fly to score Zobrist. Cain stole second and scored the tying run on a Mike Moustakas single.
New York regained the lead in the eighth inning. After two quick outs, Juan Lagares singled off Kelvin Herrera. Lagares stole second and scored on a rare error by Hosmer. The lead held up until the bottom of the ninth inning after the Royals wasted a leadoff double by Zobrist in the eighth. With one out in the ninth, Alex Gordon homered off Jeurys Familia, who had entered the inning prior to escape a jam.
Gordon’s game-tying blast will go down as one of the biggest home runs in franchise history. It also sent Game 1 to the 10th inning.
The Royals loaded the bases in the 12th inning, but Bartolo Colon coaxed a flyball from Jarrod Dyson to escape the threat. Things went better for Kansas City against the veteran right-hander in the 14th inning.
Escobar reached on a throwing error to open the frame. Zobrist followed with his third hit of the game. Colon intentionally walked Cain to load the bases with nobody out. Hosmer completed his redemption with a sacrifice fly — his second of the game — to score Escobar and walk off a winner.
The walk-off came after Chris Young pitched a flawless top of the 14th inning to earn the win. The thrilling game featured several of the most memorable moments of the 2015 postseason. From Escobar’s leadoff homer, to Volquez’s performance, to Gordon’s homer, to Hosmer’s heroics, this game had everything.
It’s impossible to know how the World Series would’ve turned out if the Mets had won Game 1. But it certainly made things easier on the Kansas City Royals and a fanbase that had suffered through postseason heartbreak the season before.
On this night two years ago, the previous World Series game at Kauffman Stadium was far from the minds of Royals fans.