This was the World Series of the ages. It went seven tough games, and this final game was a battle of pitchers: The Kansas City Royals and their bullpen and the Giants with Madison Bumgarner.
The Royals were able to score two runs off starter Tim Hudson, but the Giants bullpen, and Madison Bumgarner who went five innings, kept the Royals from scoring another run.
For their part, the Royals kept the Giants to just three runs, but with Bumgarner pitching those last five innings, that’s all San Francisco needed.
This World Series was historic. From a team perspective: no visiting team had won a Game Seven of the World Series since 1979 when the Pittsburgh Pirates came back from being down in the series a 3-1 to overtake the Baltimore Orioles, winning Game Seven in Baltimore.
Based on this history most analysts and experts picked Kansas City to win this final game. They have a great bullpen and whatever trouble starter Jeremy Guthrie got in they were confident the bullpen was ready to take over as early as the first inning if needed.
Guthrie pitched into the 4th inning and was relieved by Kelvin Herrera, who, until this World Series, had been a reliable reliever and the heart of the KC bullpen. But he has wavered some in this series, surprising many by giving up runs to the Giants. When he came in to relieve Guthrie the score was tied at two apiece with two men on: Hunter pence at first and Pablo Sandoval at third. The first batter Herrera faced was DH Michael Morse who landed a single that scored Sandoval.
Herrera didn’t give up another run in the two and two-thirds innings he pitched, but as it turned out the Giants only needed those three runs.
Wade Davis and Greg Holland finished up the pitching for the Royals and they kept the Giants from scoring, but that didn’t matter when the final out was recorded.
This World Series was also historic because of one man: Giants starter and one game reliever Madison Bumgarner. He pitched 16 straight scoreless innings and recorded two wins in this World Series. In 22 innings pitched he gave up only one run, bringing his World Series ERA to 0.24, the best in history.
I don’t think anyone expected him to pitch more than two or three innings in Game Seven. Giants closer, Santiago Casilla, briefly stood up to warm up in in the bullpen, but that didn’t last very long; for the last two innings the Giants bullpen was empty.
There was a bit of confusion at the end of the game when announcers and some statisticians gave the win to Bumgarner, but the last Giants run was recorded when reliever Jeremy Affeldt was the San Francisco pitcher, so he is officially credited with the win. But for everyone who saw this World Series, there really is only one pitcher most responsible for the Giants becoming the 2014 World Series champions: Madison Bumgarner.
For their offense it begins with two players: third baseman Pablo Sandoval and outfielder Hunter Pence. During this World Series Sandoval had 28 at-bats with 12 hits, one walk, four strikeouts, six runs scored (Two in Games Five and Seven) and four RBI’s. Game Three was the only time he didn’t reach base at least once in this series.
Hunter Pence had 27 plate appearances with 12 hits and three walks; he scored seven runs with only two strikeouts and five RBI’s.
Both teams turned in great defensive plays, from Royals outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon and the entire KC infield, to Pence and Juan Perez and Gregor Blanco in San Francisco’s outfield, although in this final game Blanco committed an error in the bottom of the 9th that allowed Alex Gordon, the potential tying run, to take third on what should have been a single.
But the San Francisco defense, both the outfield and infield, was pretty solid throughout, with few mistakes. For both teams pitching and defense ruled this series.
So the Giants win their third World Series in five seasons — in a span of four years. They are already being called the latest baseball dynasty and if they keep making trips to the World Series every two years that will prove to be true. Their 2010 World Series Pennant was this first one for the Giants since 1957 when they were the New York Giants, so maybe the San Francisco Giants will need to win a couple more to be considered a dynasty like the New York Yankees.
It was disappointing to see the Royals lose this series because their post-season story is such a great one. They won that epic 12-inning Wild Card game against the Oakland A’s and then swept through the L.A. Angels and the Baltimore Orioles, igniting this small midwestern city that hasn’t had any baseball glory in over two decades. Royals Hall-of-Famer George Brett stood silently in his box for a long time as the Giants celebrated their victory Wednesday Night. His team had won here 29 years ago when they shut out the St. Louis Cardinals, 11-0. Most people were so confident his Royals would do it again at home, but Brett’s sadness spoke for many of us in Kauffman Stadium last night.
We can expect the Kansas City Royals will be back to the World Series in the coming years and they could win it all. Ned Yost has been a great manager and he’s remained upbeat throughout the post-season, gracious and humble in his team’s loss. After the game he had high praise for the Giants and his colleague Bruce Bochy and especially for Madison Bumgarner.
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Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants. This World Series has been one of the best of all time and I am grateful to have been here to cover all seven games for the Los Angeles Post-Examiner.
This is Claudia Gestro, from Kansas City, Missouri, for the Los Angeles Post-Examiner.
All photos by Claudia Gestro, unless otherwise noted.