In a game dominated by pitching, the Kansas City Royals were two hits and one run better than the San Francisco Giants, defeating the Orange and Black, 3-2, while handing Bruce Bochy his first loss at AT&T Park in a world series game. Alcides Escobar doubled on the first pitch of the game, scoring on an infield grounder moments later, and singled in the sixth, scoring the second run of the game, when Alex Gordon doubled him home.
The Giants rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth, when Brandon Crawford led off with a single, and pinch-hitter Michael Morse doubled him home, scoring himself, one out later, on a grounder to the right side, by Buster Posey. It was valiant, it was timely, but it just fell one run short, and the Royals bullpen proved to be all it was billed, shutting the Giants down in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, by limiting them to one base on balls.
Good pitching shut down good hitting, just as it has done for the Giants so methodically in the past.
Tim Hudson finally got his start in a World Series, and he pitched well, but could not squirm off the hook he created by allowing the one-out hits to Escobar and Gordon, in the fateful sixth inning. Javier Lopez’ stats will continue to record a string of scoreless appearances, but it was the single Lopez gave up to cleanup hitter, Eric Hosner, which cost Hudson a chance at a victory.
The Giants were limited to four hits, the numbers one through four hitters in the lineup, not contributing a single one of the four. Going into the sixth, the Giants had one base runner, Hunter Pence, and he was erased on a caught-stealing.
San Francisco did display dazzling defense, recording three gold-starred plays in the first three innings. In the first inning, Brandon Belt and Tim Hudson combined to get Eric Hosner at first, when Hosner hit a bullet down the line that Belt speared in foul territory, and then made a high throw to Hudson covering, that he had to jump high for.
Travis Ishikawa made another horizontal grab in left field, of a liner by Salvador Perez, and Joe Panik went to his right in the third inning, to snag an Escobar grounder, getting up and nailing him at first, Belt taking the low throw at shoe top level, to keep the bases empty.
And Pablo Sandoval made a stellar play on a chopper from Hosner in the ninth, that hit right on the dirt, squirting to his right, which Sandoval bare-handed and flung on to first base to get Hosner.
For the Royals, Jeremy Guthrie started and pitched into the sixth, leaving after he gave up leadoff hits to Crawford and Morse, before Kelvin Herrera came in to limit the damage to a total of two runs, both charged to Guthrie.
When it came down to the bullpens, again, in Game 3 of the 2014 World Series, Kansas City came out on top, by virtue of the one run that the Royals scored in the top of the first inning. Kelvin Herrera (1.1 IP), Brandon Finnegan (.2 IP), Wade Davis (8th inning), and Greg Holland (9th inning, S) did what they were supposed to do, and the Giants went quietly in the third game of the series.
It is far from finished, but the days of dominating world series opponents appears to be over for the Giants. It is time to get the bats in gear, and take the Series back, one game at a time, beginning Saturday night, with Ryan Vogelsong on the mound.
No more three-games-to-one deficits, please.