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Royals edge Mets in marathon World Series opener

By Alan Eskew, The Sports Xchange
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Royals edge Mets in marathon World Series opener
Kansas City Royals swarm around first baseman Eric Hosmer after his game-winning sacrifice fly in the 14th inning beat the New York Mets in game 1 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri on October 27, 2015. Kansas City beats New York 5-4 in 14 innings to take a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Eric Hosmer found a good way to atone for a run-scoring error in Game 1 of the World Series.

The first baseman's sacrifice fly in the 14th inning scored Alcides Escobar with the winning run, and the Kansas City Royals outlasted the New York Mets for a 5-4 victory Tuesday.

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Royals left fielder Alex Gordon homered with one out in the ninth to straightaway center on a 1-1 Jeurys Familia pitch to tie the game and send the 40,320 Kauffman Stadium crowd into complete bedlam and the game into extra innings.

"I was the happiest person in the stadium when Gordon homered," said Hosmer, whose eighth-inning error gave New York a 4-3 lead. "I told him, 'I just want to hug you right now.' I think a lot of people in Kansas City want to hug him."

The final run was unearned as Escobar reached on a throwing error by Mets third baseman David Wright to start the 14th. Second baseman Ben Zobrist, who had three hits, singled Escobar to third. After center fielder Lorenzo Cain was walked intentionally, Hosmer flied out to right, and Escobar beat Curtis Granderson's throw home.

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Escobar (2) scores the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Hosmer. Photo by Jeff Moffett/UPI

"I just wanted another opportunity," Hosmer said. "It came down to me right then. I'm just happy for another chance."

Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon, 42, became the oldest losing pitcher in World Series history.

Royals right-hander Chris Young worked three hitless innings, striking out four, to pick up the victory.

The 14-inning game matched the longest in World Series history. The contest lasted 5 hours, 9 minutes.

The Royals loaded the bases in the 12th but came away empty. Right fielder Paulo Orlando, the first Brazilian to appear in a World Series game, led off the inning with an infield single. Colon walked two intentionally before retiring designated hitter Jarrod Dyson on an easy fly ball to left.

Kansas City reliever Ryan Madson, who had allowed four home runs in 5 1/3 innings in six postseason games, pitched into and out of trouble in the 11th. Center fielder Juan Lagares began the inning with a bunt single, and shortstop Wilmer Flores bunted him to second base.

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Lagares leads off the11th inning with a bunt base hit. Photo by Jeff Moffett/UPI

After Madson struck out designated hitter Michael Cuddyer, he walked Granderson. Madson fell behind in the count 2-0 to Wright before striking him out in an eight-pitch at-bat.

Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese, who made 29 starts during the regular season, pitched scoreless 10th and 11th innings.

Lagares singled with two outs in the eighth, stole second and scored on Hosmer's error to give the Mets an abbreviated lead.

Lagares, who was not in the starting lineup, singled to center off Kelvin Herrera and swiped second. Wilmer Flores hit a grounder that Hosmer attempted to backhand, but the ball got past him for an error, allowing Lagares to come home. It was only the Royals' second error in 12 postseason games.

"It was a short hop, one of those in-between plays," Hosmer said. "No excuses. It was off my glove. I should have made the play."

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New York led 3-1 after left fielder Michael Conforto hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, but Kansas City scored twice in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Hosmer's sacrifice fly cut New York's lead to 3-2, and third baseman Mike Moustakas leveled the score with a single to right-center.

Cespedes (R) scores on a sacrifice fly by Conforto. Photo by Jeff Moffett/UPI

Both starting pitchers, Mets right-hander Matt Harvey and Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez, threw six innings of three-run ball.

Volquez's father died of heart failure in the Dominican Republic before the game.

"I don't have any idea when he found out," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We found out before the game, and the wishes of the family was let Eddie pitch.

"So I was kind of keeping my eye on him, didn't want him to hear about it, and he was fine. He didn't know, and I guess after the game is when he found out."

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Granderson's fifth-inning solo home run put New York in front 2-1.

Escobar, the MVP of the American League Championship Series after hitting .478 against Toronto, swung at the first pitch in the first inning, as his custom, but this swing produced World Series history. The shortstop drove a Matt Harvey 95 mph four-seam fastball to left center.

Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes attempted to make a backhand grab, but the ball ricocheted off his leg and into left field. By the time Conforto reversed his field and chased it down, Escobar circled the bases standing up.

It was the 10th inside-the-park home run in World Series history and the first since Mule Haas on Oct. 13, 1929, for the Philadelphia Athletics against the Chicago Cubs. The only other inside-the-park homer to lead off a World Series game was by Patsy Dougherty for the Philadelphia Athletics against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Oct. 2, 1903.

"I've never seen that before in the first game of the World Series," Escobar said. "That's crazy. I say a double, triple maybe, when I hit it. When I saw my third base coach continue to send me to home plate, I said, 'Wow.' It was a crazy game, a long game."

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Said Harvey, "I don't think you expect the first pitch of the game to be deep into the gap like that. But I'm more disappointed that I gave up those two runs (in the sixth) and gave up the lead."

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Escobar (2) celebrates his inside-the-park home run with teammate Ben Zobrist. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

The Mets clustered three singles in the fourth to tie the score at 1. Second baseman Daniel Murphy singled to center leading off the inning. That was Murphy's 17th postseason hit, which is a Mets record, and he added another single later in the game.

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With one out, first baseman Lucas Duda hit a ground-ball single to right, advancing Murphy to third. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud's infield single to third brought Murphy home.

Granderson homered on a 1-2 Volquez 95 mph sinker in the fifth to put the Mets on top. Granderson's seventh career postseason home run, but his first this year, landed in the Mets' bullpen.

Familia, who had not blown a save since July 30, gave up the game-tying homer to Gordon.

"One thing he doesn't give up is home runs, so we were all shocked by it," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

NOTES: In a surprise move, the Royals added 20-year-old INF Raul A. Mondesi to their World Series roster. Mondesi has never played above Double-A, hitting .243 this season with Northwest Arkansas. Royals manager Ned Yost said Mondesi gives the Royals more flexibility for games in New York. Mondesi replaced OF Terrance Gore, a pinch-running specialist who was on the roster for the first two postseason rounds. ... The Royals designated RHP Joba Chamberlain for assignment to make space for Mondesi on the 40-man roster. ... The Mets put INF Jose Uribe on their World Series roster, replacing INF Matt Reynolds. Uribe has not played since Sept. 26 after aggravating a chest injury. ... The Royals have 16 players with World Series experience and the Mets have two -- OF Curtis Granderson and Uribe. ... The Mets (0-4) and Royals (0-3) entered Wednesday 0-7 in World Series openers.

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