Saturday, October 31, 2015

World Series Game Three

Last night was the first time a World Series game had been played in New York since 2009, and the first time the Mets had played a World Series game at home since 2000.  New York is, of course, the quintessential baseball town -- no matter what the folks in Boston, Chicago, and St. Louis may think -- and so the long-suffering Mets fans turned out in droves.  Billy Joel was there -- and there was a great moment late in the game where the whole crowd was singing "Piano Man."  Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld were standing next to each other, wearing their Mets caps.  It was that kind of night.

The New York baseball fan is both passionate and shrewd, and certainly not prone to despair over a 2-0 deficit with the next three games in Queens.  Of course Kansas City was going to be tough at home, in front of its own fans -- but let's see how the Royals do on the Big Stage in New York.  If they can handle the pressure, fine, we'll tip our caps and acknowledge their quality.  But if they can't, then the Mets can get right back in this thing.

Thus thought the New Yorkers, and last night they had a very pleasant evening.  Old hero David Wright whacked a two-run homer in the bottom of the 1st to put the Metropolitans up 2-1.  The Royals fought back to take a 3-2 lead after two.  But in the bottom of the 3d, former Yankee Curtis Granderson lined a two-run shot into the right field corner to put the Mets up 4-3.  By this point, the Mets were finally getting some good pitching from Noah Syndergaard, who held the Royals to three runs through six innings.  And then the Mets blew the game open with a run in the fourth, and four runs in the bottom of the 6th -- the big blow being a two-run single by old hero David Wright.  So the Mets were up 9-3 after six, and that turned out to be the final score, and the last three innings were a big party for the New York fans.  We like to think of New Yorkers as cold and indifferent to sentiment, but they love their home town at least as much as anyone in Paducah or Mayfield, and tonight was an evening of joy for them.

So now tonight's game takes on enormous importance.  If the Royals can win tonight, they will regain control of the series and be very tough to beat.  But if the Mets can win again, we will be looking at a best-2-out-of-3 for the title, and anything could happen then.

World Series:
Kansas City leads New York 2-1

90 comments:

  1. I'm looking forward to Game Four tonight. The first game of the World Series is fun -- everyone is just happy to be there, and nothing's going to be decided that night. After that, you wait to see if the losing team will win a game before it falls behind 3-0. If the Series gets to 2-1, like it is now, the next game feels really serious -- you start to feel how close you are to the end of the season. And that's what it will be like in Queens tonight.

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    1. Your point about New Yorkers and sentiment is a good one--I would only slightly disagree to say that I think it is New Yorkers who like to think (and say) they are cold and indifferent to sentiment, and sometimes we tend to take them at their word. But, for sure, they are sentimental, at least when it comes to sports. That's one of the things that comes up over and over again with regard to the 1969 Mets (and, to a lesser extent, the 1968 Jets).

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  2. Here are tonight's line-ups, with old-school 1970's stats. The Mets have four position players who appeared in less than 70 games for the team this year, as well as a rookie pitcher who only appeared in six games during the regular season. I wonder if that's ever happened before in the World Series:

    KANSAS CITY:
    1. Alcides Escobar, SS (.257, 3 HR, 47 RBI)
    2. Ben Zobrist, 2B (.284, 7 HR, 23 RBI in 59 games)
    3. Lorenzo Cain, CF (.307, 16 HR, 72 RBI)
    4. Eric Hosmer, 1B (.297, 18 HR, 93 RBI)
    5. Mike Moustakas, 3B (.284, 22 HR, 82 RBI)
    6. Salvador Perez, C (.260, 21 HR, 70 RBI)
    7. Alex Gordon, LF (.271, 13 HR, 48 RBI in 104 games)
    8. Alex Rios, RF (.255, 4 HR, 32 RBI)
    9. Chris Young, P (11-6, 3.06 E.R.A.)

    NEW YORK:
    1. Curtis Granderson, RF (.259, 26 HR, 70 RBI)
    2. David Wright, 3B (.289, 5 HR, 17 RBI in 38 games)
    3. Daniel Murphy, 2B (.281, 14 HR, 73 RBI)
    4. Yoenis Cespedes, CF (.287, 17 HR, 44 RBI in 57 games)
    5. Lucas Duda, 1B (.244, 27 HR, 73 RBI)
    6. Travis d'Arnaud, C (.268, 12 HR, 41 RBI in 67 games)
    7. Michael Conforto, LF (.270, 9 HR, 26 RBI in 56 games)
    8. Wilmer Flores, SS (.263, 16 HR, 59 RBI)
    9. Steve Matz, P (4-0, 2.27 ERA in 6 games)

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  3. The press is going on and on about how Noah Syndergaard opened the game last night by throwing at Alcides Escobar's head. While I agree that this act did have a sort of "Welcome to New York" quality, I don't think it had much to do with last night's outcome. The Mets did most of their damage last night with their bats.

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  4. Having said that, these are two old-school squads who can and will use any trick in the book to prevail tonight. John McGraw -- or, for that matter, Davey Johnson -- would really like these teams. As do I.

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  5. It's 51 degrees in Queens tonight. If not for climate change, we probably couldn't play baseball in the Northeast on Halloween.

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  6. Here is Steven Matz, who went 4-0 in six starts for the Mets. Only Marty Bystrom, who started Game 5 of the 1980 World Series for the Phillies, had so few career starts before starting a game in the World Series.

    He does not throw at Escobar, and Escobar repays him by hitting a single. At this point, my main memory of the 2015 post-season involves watching the Royals whack a lot of singles.

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  7. Escobar tries to steal second, but is called out because Zobrist interfered with the Mets catcher. Cain ends the first by flying to right, and the Mets faithful go nuts.

    After half an inning, it's the Royals zero, the Mets coming up to bat.

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  8. Chris Young, the pitcher for Kansas City, has a degree in politics from Princeton. He's also 6 feet 10 inches tall. FOX tells us that only Randy Johnson matches Young in terms of height for World Series starters. FOX does not say whether any other Princeton grads have pitched in the World Series.

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  9. Mets go down 1-2-3 -- the last out coming on a diving catch by Rios in right.

    0-0 after 1.

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  10. Well, this is pretty neat. Steven Matz was born on Long Island, and grew up in Long Island as a Met fan in a family of Met fans. Now, at the age of 24, he is pitching for the Mets in the World Series. He gives up a two-out single in the top of the 2nd, but otherwise retires the Royals without difficulty.

    Still 0-0 after 1 1/2 innings.

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    1. I'm very happy for real Steven Matz and Hoptown 1969 Steven Matz.

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  11. Young has another 1-2-3 inning, and it's still 0-0 after 2.

    As a National League fan, I'm happy with this start. I like to have a few innings to settle in.

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  12. I really don't like this bearded guy in the Chevy commercials. I'd like to see the market research behind this campaign. The whole point of the campaign is that most people assume that Chevy's are terrible, and then they're surprised when that turns out not to be true. For the record, I happen to like Chevys, and I know a lot of other people who do, too. So I'm not pleased with this campaign.

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  13. The Royals go down 1-2-3, and it's 0-0 after 2 1/2 innings.

    I love the Direct TV commercials about CableWorld. I would watch a sitcom based on those commercials.

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    1. You might take a look at the original three seasons of Arrested Development.

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    2. I should do that. I would also watch a sitcom based on the commercials that Rashida Jones does for whatever wireless internet company she is advertising for. Those commercials are great.

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  14. And now Michael Conforto leads off the third by CRUSHING a pitch into the upper deck in right field. The Mets lead 1-0, and the folks in Queens are transported with joy.

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  15. Flores singles, and advances to third on a wild pitch and a bunt. With one out, Granderson has a chance to bring home another run. He hits a fly ball to Rios -- who seemed to think it was the third out. By the time he threw home, he had no chance to catch Flores.

    Mets lead 2-0.

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  16. But do they? The Royals have asked for a review -- they think Flores left the bag early. The umpires have put on their headphones.

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  17. While we wait, the ESPN announcers (Dan Shulman and Aaron Boone) continue to trash Rios for not realizing that Flores could advance.

    Here's the appeal -- and the RUN WILL COUNT. Mets lead 2-0.

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  18. Young escapes with no further damage, but the Mets lead 2-0 after 3. The Royals will be embarrassed to have helped the Mets with a wild pitch and a failure to remember how many outs there were.

    In Philly, Notre Dame leads Temple 7-3 in the second quarter.

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  19. According to FanGraphs, the Mets now have a 76.5 percent chance of victory.

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  20. So far, the Royals have been great at coming from behind. But Matz mows them down 1-2-3 in the 4th. Mets lead 2-0 after 3 1/2.

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  21. The Guardian reports that Matz was at home on Long Island today, handing out Halloween candy. Good for him.

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    1. In Madisonville, they'd throw him in jail for that sort of thing today--trick-or-treating was yesterday.

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  22. Young strikes out Cespedes, who has apparently decided he's not doing anything until he has another chance to beat the Nats and Dodgers. Then Young retires two more Mets, and the inning is over. You only get three outs per inning, even if you're from New York.

    After 4, the Mets lead 2-0. Meanwhile, the Irish still lead Temple 7-3 in the second quarter. It makes me happy to think of Notre Dame playing in Philly. I prefer to see Notre Dame in the big cities where they have lots of fans. I feel like every year they should go to Cleveland, or Baltimore, or Philly, or Boston, or Yankee Stadium -- that's where I want to see Notre Dame.

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  23. With one out in the fifth, Perez lofts a ball to center, which Cespedes misplays. The ball hits the ground and Cespedes kicks it over into left field. Perez goes to second. The ESPN announcers criticize Cespedes for his lack of hustle in this series.

    Wait until he gets to play the Nats and Dodgers again.

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    1. Maybe the Mets will cut him, and he'll come back to Oakland.

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  24. OK, now the Royals are in business. After Cespedes's trevails, Gordon comes up and promptly whacks a single to left. Perez trots home, and the score is 2-1.

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  25. Rios flies out to center. Cespedes manages to catch it.

    OK, the Royals are going for it now. They're sending up Kendrys Morales, who is normally their designated hitter, but who can't play in a National League park, to pinch hit for Chris Young.

    Aaron Boone thinks it's too early to use Morales, but Shulman points out that the Royals don't have any other great options.

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  26. Morales looks at two balls, and then lines a single up the middle. Gordon advances to second. Now here's Escobar with men on first and second and two out:

    Matz v. Escobar:

    Pitch 1: Ball (1-0)
    Pitch 2: Ball (2-0)
    Pitch 3: Escobar hits it hard, but it is a fly ball instead of the usual Royal line drive. Granderson catches it and the inning is over.

    Mets lead 2-1 after 4 1/2. But they will need some more runs.

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  27. On the other hand, the Royals can't use Morales for the rest of the night.

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    1. And they only got 4 innings out of Young.

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  28. With 4:22 to go in the second quarter, Notre Dame leads Temple 14-10.

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  29. Danny Duffy comes in to pitch for the Royals. They're still complaining about that decision to use Morales in the fifth. But Matz was really struggling by the end of that inning, and Escobar came up with a great chance to do something big. I can see going for it in that spot. If Escobar had hit a double -- and he almost did -- that move would have looked brilliant.

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  30. And now Michael Conforto -- a 22-year-old rookie who had 9 homers in 56 games this year -- hits his SECOND HOMER OF THE GAME, a long poke to right field.

    Somewhere, Bryce Harper is really unhappy.

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  31. Granderson gets a two-out infield single -- but is then thrown out trying to steal.

    Mets lead 3-1 after 5. Mets now have an 81.6 percent chance of victory.

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  32. Michael Conforto was born on March 1, 1993. There haven't been any great players born on March 1, although a player known as Henry Francis ("Farmer") Vaughn, who was born on March 1, 1864, had 13 years in the majors from 1886 to 1899.

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  33. OK, the Royals aren't messing around now. Zobrist leads off the sixth with a double to center. If Matz makes it through this inning, he will be doing extremely well.

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  34. Lorenzo Cain bounces a single through the middle, and Zobrist races home to make the score 3-2. Cain is on first with no one out.

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  35. That's all for Matz, who clearly wasn't going to retire anyone else tonight. He pitched bravely and well, but he was lucky to get out of the fifth, and I thought the Mets should have pinch hit for him in the last inning.

    Now the Mets only have a 62.6 percent chance of winning.

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  36. The Mets bring in Jon Niese, who was a starter in the regular season.

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  37. Cain steals second. Hosmer whistles a hard-hit liner to center, but it's right at Cespedes. One out. Here's Moustakas with a chance to tie the game:

    Niese v. Moustakas:

    Pitch 1: Swinging strike (0-1)
    Pitch 2: Ball (1-1)
    Pitch 3: Swinging strike (1-2)
    Pitch 4: Moustakas grounds out to third. Cain stays at second.

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  38. With two outs and tying run on second, the Mets are making another pitching change. Niese is gone, and the Ancient Warrior, Bartolo Colon, will enter the game to face Salvador Perez.

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  39. So the Mets started with Matz, who was born in 1991. They have two homers from Conforto, who was born in 1993. And now they're giving the ball to Colon, who was born on May 24, 1973.

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    1. Making him an eighth-grader when Matthew and I were seniors at Heath.

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  40. Colon v. Perez:

    Pitch 1: Ball (1-0)
    Colon tries a pickoff at second, and throws the ball into center field. Cain races to third. Dan Shulman, who is just killing Cespedes every chance he gets, thinks Cespedes should have hustled more to get that bad throw.
    Pitch 2: Strike (1-1)
    Pitch 3: Called Strike (1-2)
    Pitch 4: Foul (1-2)
    Pitch 5: Ball (2-2)
    Pitch 6: Foul (2-2)
    Pitch 7: Foul (2-2)
    Pitch 8: Foul (2-2)
    Pitch 9: Foul (2-2) What a battle! This is great baseball.
    Pitch 10: Swinging stirke (3 outs)

    That was tremendous -- a great battle by batter and pitcher alike. Perez fought off a whole series of excellent pitches, but he couldn't reach that last one.

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  41. All through these playoffs, the Royals have usually come up with the key hit there. But this time, they had three great chances to bring home Cain with the tying run, and failed to do so.

    After 5 1/2 innings, the Mets lead 3-2. Now they have a 76.4 percent chance of victory.

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  42. The second half in Philly just got started, with Notre Dame still leading Temple 14-10. In Williamsburg, Va., today, the William & Mary Tribe (ranked 16th in I-AA), hooked up with the James Madison Dukes (ranked 9th in I-AA). The Tribe pulled out a thriller, winning 44-41. The Tribe are now 6-2 for the year, and 4-1 in the rugged Colonial Athletic Association.

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  43. Luke Hochevar is pitching for the Royals. David Wright, leading off the inning, hammers a high fly -- but the ball goes to the deepest part of the ball park, where it disappears into Lorenzo Cain's glove.

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  44. After that bit of drama with Wright, Hochevar has no trouble with Murphy and Cespedes, which must have all the Dodger fans throwing stuff at the screen.

    After 6, the Mets lead 3-2.

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  45. Now this is where the Royals have been so tough in recent years. In these late-game situation, their bullpen has usually been lights out, while their offense has been great at coming from behind. Last year, the Giants solved hits problem by using Madison Bumgarner -- their ace starter -- to shut down the Royals at the end of Game Seven. What will the Mets do?

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  46. Meanwhile, on ESPN they continue to crush Cespedes. Now they're saying he only has one walk since October 1, and he hasn't hit well since the middle of September. Dodger fans, remembering the two homers he hit against them in the playoffs, may beg to differ.

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  47. Meanwhile, the Mets have brought in Addison Reed, a late-season pickup from the Diamondbacks, to pitch the 7th. This year, for the Mets and Diamondbacks, he went 3-3 with an E.R.A. of 3.38 in 55 appearances.

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  48. The Royals are again doing that thing where they hit foul after foul until they get the pitch they want. Reed has to throw nine pitches to Alex Gordon before he laces a liner to deep right -- but Granderson is there. One out.

    The Royals are tough.

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  49. It took 20 pitches, but Reed retires the bottom of the Royals order -- including Jerrod Dyson, who pinch hit for the pitcher -- for a 1-2-3 inning.

    Mets lead 3-2 after 6 1/2.

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  50. Here's a surprise: with 4:19 left in the third quarter, Tennessee is beating Kentucky 52-21. Hmm. That game is being played in Lexington, and Kentucky has the best coach in college football (according to the Kentucky press). I wonder if that's a typo on the Internet.

    No, here's the latest update from the Louisville Courier-Journal:

    "Tennessee 52, Kentucky 21 (5:29 3Q): No, really, nobody (except running back Mikel Horton) gets to go home feeling good about themselves. After Horton’s strong running (up to 84 yards on 10 carries) was negated by two holding penalties, Landon Foster at least got off a nice punt for the Cats. It was returned 84 yards for a touchdown. That and a sudden downpour finally emptied the stadium."

    Well, at least folks got to go home early.

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  51. FOX is showing Seinfeld enjoying the seventh-inning stretch. My guess is that he knows that the Mets need some insurance runs.

    The Royals have brought in Ryan Madson to pitch the seventh.

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  52. Madson retires the Mets 1-2-3, and becomes the first Royal pitcher of the night to retire Conforto.

    Mets lead 3-2 after 7.

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  53. Former Nat and A Tyler Clippard (4-1 with a 3.06 E.R.A. in 32 appearances) will face the top of the Kansas City order. I will be surprised if he makes it through this inning.

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  54. Mets have brought in Juan Lagares to play center -- he will bat ninth, and Cespedes will move to left. Conforto leaves the game, and Clippard is in the seventh spot in the batting order -- but I doubt we'll see him hit.

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  55. Clippard gets Escobar on a bouncer back to the pitcher, but then he Clippards Zobrist to first with a base on balls.

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  56. Here comes Lorenzo Cain:

    Clippard v. Cain (Zobrist on first, one out)

    Pitch 1: Foul (0-1)
    Pitch 2: Foul (0-2)
    Pitch 3: Foul (0-2)
    Pitch 4: Ball (1-2)
    Pitch 5: Foul (1-2)
    Pitch 6: Ball (2-2)
    Pitch 7: Ball (3-2)
    Pitch 8: Ball. Cain walks

    Now the Royals have runners on first and second with one out, and that's all for Clippard. He leaves after pitching 1/3 of an inning, and he is responsible for the two runners on base.

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  57. OK, that's it for Clippard. The Mets bring in their closer, Jeurys Familia (2-2, 1.85 E.R.A., 43 saves). If he can get five outs without giving up a run, the Series will be tied. If he cannot, then Kansas City will probably be your World Champion for 2015.

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  58. And now UK has pinned Tennessee at its own 10 with a fumble.

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  59. Hosmer hits a high bouncer toward second. Murphy charges it, and the BALL GETS UNDER HIS GLOVE. It skips past him, while Zobrist races home with the tying run. Cain goes to third.

    We're tied at 3.

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  60. And now Moustakas bounces a seeing-eye grounder past Murphy into right field. Cain races home, and the Royals lead 4-3. Hosmer promptly zips over to third.

    So here's how the inning has gone. Walk, walk, error, single. Two runs in, two men on base.

    I think the Mets just lost the World Series.

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  61. On that error by Murphy, New York's chance of victory fell from 68 percent to 34 percent.

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  62. The Royals are just toying with New York now. Perez lofts a single to right, and Hosmer trots home. Royals now lead 5-3. Familia, who was basically unhittable down the stretch for New York, has faced three batters and failed to retire any of them.

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  63. Alex Gordon bounces a grounder to Murphy, who has the satisfaction of tagging Perez and flipping to first for an inning-ending double play. But the damage has been done. Kansas City leads 5-3 after 7 1/2, and their bullpen is not in the habit of blowing leads.

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  64. In the National League, the Mets had devastating pitching -- both from their starters and their bullpen. And their offense did enough to keep winning. But the Mets simply do not have enough pitching firepower to hold off the Royals once the Royals start fouling off pitch after pitch after pitch. This will be the second time in four games that the Mets have blown a late-inning lead, and that will be the story of this World Series.

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  65. Unlike the Mets, who sent out Clippard to start the eighth, the Royals are putting in their ace right now. Wade Davis (8-1, 0.94 E.R.A. in 69 appearances) has entered the game to pitch the eighth. He will face Flores, Legares, and Granderson.

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  66. The Mets had Kelly Johnson pinch hit for Legares, but it made no difference. Davis mowed them down 1-2-3. Royals lead 5-3 with one inning left.

    See the difference in these teams?

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  67. Tennessee holds on to edge Kentucky, 55-21.

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  68. With 4:45 left, Temple leads Notre Dame 20-17. Notre Dame is 9th in the AP poll. Temple hasn't beaten a team in the top 10 of the AP poll since they beat Holy Cross (ranked 10th at the time) in 1945. The Owls are 1-45 against top-10 teams.

    I can't imagine anything odder than the notion that Temple would beat Notre Dame and Penn State in the same year.

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  69. Michigan wins the Little Brown Jug, beating Minnesota 29-26.

    Tennessee beat Kentucky 52-21.

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  70. Hansel Robles retires the Royals 1-2-3 in the 9th, and now the Mets are down to their last chance. They will send up old hero David Wright, Daniel Murphy, and Cespedes. This will give the folkso n ESPN a lot to talk about.

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  71. Holy heartbreak for Temple! Notre Dame scores with 2 minutes to go, and takes a 24-20 lead.

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  72. And with 1:08 left, Notre Dame gets a spectacular, diving interception to kill Temple's last drive. The Irish are going to win.

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  73. With one out, Daniel Murphy whistles a hot grounder that skips past Moustakas. Murphy is on first, and Cespedes comes to the plate.

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  74. There's the Cespedes I remember! He lines a single to right, and Lucas Duda comes to the plate with the winning run.

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  75. Davis v. Duda (runners on 1st and 2d, one out):

    Pitch 1: Foul (0-1)
    Pitch 2: Duda hits a soft liner to Moustakas -- who looks up to see that Cespedes was running on contact. Moustakas zips a quick throw to first base, and CESPEDES IS DOUBLED OFF THE BAG! THE GAME IS OVER!

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  76. Eric doesn't want to hear the things they're saying about Cespedes on ESPN, and neither do I. Final Score: Kansas City 5, New York 3.

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