Kansas City Royals “Never Say Die” Attitude Earns Them World Series Win


The Kansas City Royals just found a way. Time and time again, they found a way in the postseason. They trailed in games, and they trailed in series, but they were never out of it, by any means. Game five, the decisive game in the 2015 World Series, was no different, as Kansas City battled back from a two-run deficit in the ninth inning to tie the game, and eventually took the lead as they won their first World Series since 1985, beating the New York Mets.

In the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros, the Kansas City Royals trailed two games to one. In game four, where Houston could have sent the Royals home with nothing but a division championship to show for their efforts, Kansas City trailed 6-2 entering the eighth inning. They started the inning with five straight singles to bring the score to 6-4. Designated hitter Kendrys Morales bounced a ball up the middle that should have been a double play, but the ball bounced under shortstop Carlos Correa‘s glove to score two more and tie the game. An RBI groundout by Alex Gordon gave KC a 7-6 lead three batters later. The Royals won game four 9-6 to force a fifth game to decide who would play for the AL pennant.

In game five, Houston took an early two-run lead in the second inning. The lead lasted until the fifth, when Kansas City turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead. They’d go on to win the game, 7-2, and the series.

Kansas City’s pitching shut down the Toronto Blue Jays, the most prolific lineup in baseball, in the ALCS. In six games, the Blue Jays powerful batting order, consisting of three hitters who hit at least 39 home runs in the regular season, hit just six out of the park, and were outscored by the Royals, 38-26. The Royals “big three” out of the bullpen, Luke Hochevar, Wade Davis, and Kelvin Herrera, combined to pitch 10.1 innings, allow eight baserunners and no runs, and strike out 15 batters.

The Fall Classic was more of the same for the ultra-resilient Royals. In game one, the Mets took a 4-3 lead into the ninth inning and handed the ball to their closer Jeurys Familia, who had been incredibly stout through the first two rounds. With one out, Gordon sent a ball into the Kansas City night, evening the score as it soared over the center field wall. In the 14th inning, Eric Hosmer‘s sacrifice fly gave the Royals a win, and the series lead after a game.

In game two, Kansas City trailed 1-0 going into the fifth inning, but scored the last seven runs of the game to put themselves in the driver’s seat with a two-game series edge. Again in game four, the Royals were on the bad end of a 3-2 score heading to the eighth, but scored three times because of some shoddy Mets’ defense and heads up baserunning. The 5-3 win put them one victory away from a World Series championship.

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It was same song, different verse in game five for the Royals. As the ninth inning started, the Mets had a 2-0 advantage and Matt Harvey on the mound, working on eight shutout innings. Harvey started the inning with a walk to Lorenzo Cain, who stole second base shortly after. Hosmer, who seems to come through in big spots every single time he’s allotted the opportunity, doubled to left field, scoring Cain and ending the shutout. Hosmer moved to third base on Moustakas’ groundout, as Familia recorded the first out of the inning.

The next batter was Salvador Perez, who sent a groundball softly dribbling to the left side of the infield. Third baseman David Wright crossed in front of shortstop Wilmer Flores and picked up the ball. Wright looked at Hosmer briefly, but never forced him to completely stop. As Wright made the throw to first, Hosmer took off. First baseman Lucas Duda received Wright’s throw, recording the out, and turned home to make a throw of his own. He pulled the throw way up the first base line, allowing Hosmer to score easily to tie the game.

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In the 12th inning, Kansas City was at it again. Perez led off with a bloop single into right field, and was pinch-run for by speedster Jarrod Dyson. Dyson stole second, and moved to third on a groundball out. The next batter was Christian Colon, the Royals’ rookie who was taking his first career World Series at-bat, and hadn’t batted since the regular season ended. Pressure was nothing for Colon, as he lined a single into left field to put the Royals ahead for the final time in the 2015 season. They would go on to score four more runs, eventually winning 7-2.

The Mets had every chance to win in this series. They led in every game. They took leads into the eighth inning, and lost three such times. Kansas City became the first team in history to win three World Series games when they entered the eighth inning on the losing side. In the end, the Royals’ lineup, one of the deepest, as well as the best at putting the ball in play, was too much for the Mets.

Kansas City patented the old baseball belief of putting the ball in play, and putting the pressure on the defense. The Royals did that to perfection, as the defense couldn’t respond to the pressure. No team has struck out less over the past four seasons than Kansas City, and they took that into each round of the postseason. Their contact philosophies kept the line moving, and when they got going, there was no stopping them.

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If not for the absolute dominance of Madison Bumgarner last year, the Royals could be hoisting that trophy for the second straight year. They took no prisoners this time around, and no pitcher stood in their way. For the first time since 1985, the Royals are kings of the baseball world.

Congratulations, Kansas City!