World Series: San Francisco Cruises Behind Bumgarner, Pence
Score: Giants 7 – Royals 1
Series: Giants lead series 1-0
Game Hero: Hunter Pence, 2-3, 2-R HR, 2 BB
Game Summary: All October, the San Francisco Giants have capitalized on opportunities to break the backs of their opponents. Game One was more of the same for San Francisco, who routed the Kansas City Royals, 7-1, in the series opener.
The capacity crowd at Kauffman Stadium was ready to explode at the start of the first World Series game to be played in Kansas City since 1985. Their hometown Royals were riding an eight-game post-season winning streak coming into Game One of the World Series. With KC ace James Shields on the mound, the Royals looked to be in good position to make a strong statement at the start of the series. Instead, it was the Giants’ offense that made the loudest noise in the first inning.
The Giants took advantage of a shaky Shields right away. Leadoff hitter Gregor Blanco worked a 2-2 count before lining a single to center field. Joe Panik flied out, but Buster Posey singled Blanco to third, bringing Pablo Sandoval to the plate with two-on and one-out. Sandoval, who has regularly provided key hits in the post-season for San Francisco, delivered almost immediately. On an 0-1 pitch, Sandoval took a curveball from Shields into the right field corner. Blanco walked home, but the Royals appeared to catch a break when Posey tried to score from first and was cut-down easily by the throw to the plate.
Shields was one strike away from minimizing the first inning damage to just the one run when Hunter Pence lined a 3-2 fastball over the wall in center field. The homerun made the game 3-0 and took much of the life out of the crowd.
With Madison Bumgarner on the hill, the Giants knew they were in a good position after taking that 3-0 lead. Bumgarner worked around single base-runners in the first and second before running into some trouble in the top of the third. Omar Infante led-off the inning with a grounder to short that had some unusual spin. The normally sure-handed Brandon Crawford was unable to field the ball cleanly and Infante reached on the error. Mike Moustakas then followed with a double into the corner, moving Infante to third and giving the Royals a golden opportunity to cut the lead to two – or even one – run.
Bumgarner seemed to get better when challenged with the two-on, no-out situation. He struck-out Alcides Escobar on four pitches and then needed just three pitches to strike out Nori Aoki, who is a difficult player to strike-out. Lorenzo Cain battled Bumgarner after falling behind and eventually drew a walk to load the bases. That brought to the plate Eric Hosmer, who had several key hits in the first three rounds of the playoffs for Kansas City. The Royals’ first baseman was unable to come through in this instance, grounding out to second on a first-pitch slider.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Giants made the Royals regret not taking advantage of the scoring opportunity. Pence started the inning with a double down the third base line and he then moved to third on a wild pitch. Brandon Belt drew a walk and Michael Morse made the game 4-0 with an RBI single. Shields’ night was over at that point, having not made it out of the fourth in his second career World Series start.
Left-hander Danny Duffy, the KC fifth starter during the regular season, took over for Shields in the fourth. Having pitched just once since the end of the regular season, Duffy looked rusty early on. After pinch-hitter Juan Perez sacrificed Belt and Morse to second and third, Crawford and Blanco drew back-to-back walks to force in a run. Duffy was able to stop the scoring at that point, but the damage was already done. Although the game was still just in the fourth inning, it was all but over after Kansas City squandered their scoring opportunity and the Giants added on.
Bumgarner would retire the side in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth. Meanwhile, Duffy settled in and pitched well until the top of the seventh. Once again, Blanco jumpstarted the Giants’ scoring attack, this time with a walk. Panik tripled Blanco home, making it a 6-0 game. Tim Collins took over for Duffy. He retired Posey on a line-out to first, but Sandoval singled to left to complete the San Francisco scoring with the seventh run of the game.
The Royals did manage to get on the board in the bottom of the seventh. Billy Butler began the inning with a flyball that almost left the yard but was caught near the wall in center. With two outs, Salvador Perez got all of a Bumgarner fastball, homering to left. It was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect night for Bumgarner, who finished the game with a run allowed on three hits in seven innings pitched. He walked one, hit a batter and struck-out five.
Perez’s homer would be all the Royals could muster offensively on Tuesday night. Javier Lopez allowed a one-out single in the eighth, but he quickly worked out of the inning by inducing an inning-ending double-play. Right-hander Hunter Strickland came on in the ninth and retired the side in order, striking out two.
It was a dominant performance by the Giants. San Francisco had 10 hits and six walks. Four of their hits went for extra-bases and the Giants went 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Meanwhile, the Royals could scratch across just six base-runners (four hits, one walk and one hit batter) and they struck-out seven times.
What’s Next: Game Two of the World Series takes place on Wednesday, when rookie Yordano Ventura takes on veteran Jake Peavy at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals need to win Game Two, or they will face the daunting task of having to take at least two of three in San Francisco. This is the first time the Royals have lost a game this October.