Royals Rule Game 6, Tie Series behind Ventura’s Heavy Heart
By: Joe Rokicki
The Kansas City Royals shutout the visiting San Francisco Giants 10-0 Tuesday night to force a deciding Game 7 at Kauffman Stadium.
In an emotional performance, Yordano Ventura pitched the game of his life in Game 6. Ventura surrendered only three hits, five walks and struck out four batters through seven scoreless innings – all with a weight resting on his shoulders, as he was mourning the death of his dear friend Oscar Taveras.
Major League Baseball lost one of its bright and shining stars Sunday night when Taveras’ car crashed in the Dominican Republic killing the 22-year-old St. Louis Cardinals outfielder, along with his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, who was just 18 years old. Ventura wore multiple scriptures of his friend’s initials on his cap, glove, and shoes. The most notable message: “RIP O.T. #18,” on the pitcher’s cap, delicately inscribed in silver. After the game, Ventura said he dedicated the start to Taveras, and despite his cool, chilling demeanor throughout the game, confessed the great pain in which the loss of his late friend has caused him.
In a heartfelt post-game interview accompanied by teammate and translator Christian Colon, Ventura shared, “Oscar was a very humble guy and very likeable, and I’m going to miss him a lot.”
Offensively, the Royals produced 10 runs on 15 hits, highlighted by a seven run second inning in which they chased Giants starter Jake Peavy after just 11/3 innings of work. Peavy surrendered six hits, five earned runs, and one walk on just 42 pitches. Giants manager Bruce Bochy turned to his bullpen earlier than expected for some much needed relief. With one out in the inning, Giants first baseman Brandon Belt had an opportunity to record the second out of the inning on a slice from Royals infielder Alcides Escobar.
Belt looked Royals catcher Salvador Perez back to third and decided to head to first base himself to record the out, but was unaware of second basemen Joe Panik positioning to cover first on the weakly hit ground ball. The quick and slippery Escobar dodged a tag from Belt and slid into first base safely preserving the inning and loading the bases, providing yet another example in which the chaotic Kansas City speed wreaks havoc on the base paths.
Belt’s indecision proved costly as Royals outfielder Nori Aoki singled home Perez in the next at bat to take a 2-0 lead. With a single from outfielder Lorenzo Cain and back to back doubles from Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler, the Royals mounted a substantial lead and added five more runs in the second inning. Doubles from Cain and Escobar in the third and fifth innings respectively produced an RBI each and stretched the lead to 9-0. Then Mike Moustakas’ solo home run in the seventh inning capped an offensive onslaught for the hometown Royals.
Ironically enough, last night’s 10-0 shutout was the largest since Game 7 of the 1985 World Series between the Royals and St. Louis Cardinals.
The Giants irresponsible offensive play complimented a bleak pitching performance and catastrophic second inning. Despite numerous chances, the Giants finished the game 0-6 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners stranded on base.
History definitely favors the home team in the deciding Game 7 situations, especially in the MLB, with the home team winning the last nine winner-take-all contests. After the game, manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged the Royals tremendous offensive effort, and his team’s presumed underdog role in Game 7.
“Tell these guys we’re going against the odds, cause we’ve done that before,” Bochy said. “This club is so resilient. They’re so tough. They’ll put this behind them.”
Bochy also commented on Giants ace Madison Bumgarner’s availability for Wednesday night’s deciding contest.
“We’ll watch him, I can’t tell you how far he could go. I think you read him and see how he’s doing out there.”
Bumgarner is coming off an outstanding Game 5 performance in which he shutout Kansas City through nine complete innings, surrendered only four hits and struck out eight batters on 117 pitches. He is 2-0 in the series.
Despite the possibility of a “Mad Bum” appearance, Bochy displayed full confidence in scheduled starter Tim Hudson, who at 39 years old, will be the oldest pitcher in Major League history to start in a World Series Game 7. Hudson is 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA in the series.
Thanks to Yordano Ventura’s excellent performance, Royals manager Ned Yost will have his relief weapons at full capacity for Wednesday night’s Game 7. Shut down relievers Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, and Greg Holland will all be available and well rested, allowing Yost to shorten the game as much as he sees fit with a full bullpen arsenal locked and loaded. Jeremy Guthrie will start Game 7 for the Royals and posts a record of 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in the series.
Game 7 will take place at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. First pitch is scheduled for 8:07 pm on FOX.
Quotes from Yahoo! sports and ESPN.com