World Series: KC takes Game 3 for 2-1 Series lead
SAN FRANCISCO -- Alcides Escobar ignited a two-run sixth inning with his second hit of the game, and the Kansas City bullpen pitched four hitless innings, propelling the Royals to a 2-1 lead in the World Series with a 3-2 win over the San Francis...
SAN FRANCISCO - Alcides Escobar ignited a two-run sixth inning with his second hit of the game, and the Kansas City bullpen pitched four hitless innings, propelling the Royals to a 2-1 lead in the World Series with a 3-2 win over the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 on Friday night.
Game 4, the second of three straight to be played in San Francisco, is scheduled for Saturday night at AT&T Park.
In running his postseason hitting streak to eight games, Escobar doubled and scored in the first inning, then singled with one out in a two-run sixth that gave the Kansas City pitching staff just enough of a cushion.
Taking over two batters into the sixth inning after the Giants finally cracked Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie, the Royals fearsome bullpen foursome of right-hander Kelvin Herrera, lefty Brandon Finnegan, and righties Wade Davis and Greg Holland squelched a San Francisco comeback bid with near-perfect relief.
Holland was credited with the save after negotiating the heart of the Giants’ order - catcher Buster Posey, third baseman Pablo Sandoval and right fielder Hunter Pence - in 1-2-3 fashion in the bottom of the ninth.
Guthrie got the win while Giants starter Tim Hudson took the loss.
After the Royals took a 1-0 lead three batters into the game, there was no further scoring until Kansas City ended Hudson’s night in the top of the sixth.
Escobar, who scored the game’s first run after a game-opening double, opened the decisive two-run sixth with a single. He came all the way around to score when left fielder Alex Gordon, moved up to second in manager Ned Yost’s new-look lineup, blasted a double to the fence in center field.
Hudson gave way to left-hander Javier Lopez one out later, and Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer greeted the reliever with an RBI single to make it 3-0.
Making the first World Series start of his career, Hudson gave up four hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out two.
Down 3-0, the Giants finally solved Guthrie in the bottom of the sixth, and Yost was quick to go to his bullpen.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford led off with the sixth with a single and scored when pinch-hitter Michael Morse doubled down the left-field line after narrowly missing a two-run home run.
Herrera was summoned from the bullpen. After walking center fielder Gregor Blanco, he retired the next three men he faced, but not before groundouts by second baseman Joe Panik and Posey brought Morse around to score and cut the deficit to 3-2.
Guthrie gave up two runs on four hits in his five-plus innings.
Escobar was the only player in the game to record two hits. The Royals out-hit the Giants 6-4.
The game’s first run came quickly. Escobar belted Hudson’s first pitch of the game off the left-field fence for a double, then advanced to third when Gordon hit the next pitch on the ground to Giants first baseman Brandon Belt for the first out.
Right fielder Lorenzo Cain’s grounder to shortstop scored Escobar.
NOTES: The Game 4 starters Saturday night are Royals LHP Jason Vargas and Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong. Vargas has a career .262 batting average and Vogelsong’s historic five-game postseason stretch of allowing zero or one run in five or more innings ended in his last start. ... Both teams announced that Game 1 starters James Shields of the Royals and Madison Bumgarner of the Giants would return to start Game 5 on Sunday. ... As expected, Royals manager Ned Yost benched DH Billy Butler in the National League ballpark. He also replaced regular RF Nori Aoki with defensive whiz Jarrod Dyson, who started in center, and Lorenzo Cain moved to right. ... Giants RHP Tim Lincecum had an MRI on his strained back Tuesday. No damage was revealed and he was available for Game 3 relief. ... The winner of Game 3 in a 1-1 World Series has gone on to claim the championship 66.1 percent of the time.