As expected, Game Three of the 2014 World Series was a close game. The pitching was great, allowing just five total runs between the two teams. Giants starter Tim Hudson gave up only three earned runs over five and two-thirds innings and Jeremy Guthrie, starting for the Royals, had only two earned runs over six and a third innings. The bullpens were tight for both teams, the Royals a little better.
The Giants now find themselves behind in the series for the first time and they will have two chances to send the series back to Kansas City for an opportunity to win it all. It was Game One allover again, this time in reverse. Instead of the Royals fans watching their team lose, the Giants fans at AT&T Park had the experience. But, they weren’t taken completely out of the game because the score stayed close and the batters delivered long fly balls that almost looked like they would land in the stands.
Like Wednesday Night, the Giants batters were frustrated by the Royals pitching staff, managing only two runs in the 6th inning.
Royals manager Ned Yost saw his starter, Jeremy Guthrie, losing his control after one run scored and sent for his hot veteran reliever, Kelvin Herrera. He walked Gregor Blanco, putting a second man on base. Joe Panik grounded out to Herrera, but the two runners on, Blanco and Michael Morse, advanced to second and third bases. That set up the Giants’ second and final run of the night, when Morse took home on a Buster Posey grounder to second base.
Unlike Wednesday Night the Giants didn’t strand a lot of runners; they just didn’t produce as many hits. Or walks for that matter. In the first five innings Guthrie didn’t record a strikeout or a walk. The Giants just didn’t display the firepower that is in their lineup. Hunter Pence walked to lead of the 7th inning, but he would be the last Giant to get on base for the night.
Herrera wasn’t having a great night on the mound, not as good as he pitched on Wednesday in Kansas City, but the Giants were still unable to take advantage of the chances they had to score when he was on the mound.
It was in the bottom of the 7th when the Royals and rookie left-hander Brandon Finnegan made history. In June he was the Royals’ #1 draft pick — but he was still pitching for his school, Texas Christian University and they were in the College World Series. He was the college team’s ace starter so he pitched in the College World Series. And then in the bottom of the 7th inning last night Ned Yost called on him to relieve Kelvin Herrera with one out and one man on base, Hunter Pence.
With the let-hander on the mound, Giants manager replaced the left-handed batter Travis Ishikawa with the right-handed Juan Perez. Ishikawa has been getting hits this post season, so it didn’t seem like a completely logical move on Bochy’s part.
Perez flied out to left and then Finnegan recorded his first trike out in a World Series with Brandon Crawford swinging.
The Hall of Fame asked Finnegan for the cap he was wearing so it could go into the Hall in Cooperstown and he said yes. The Royals can afford to buy the rookie a new ball cap. After the game Finnegan summed up his recent life experience, “I’m very lucky.”
Giants fans are asking the question: where’s the hitting? Except for a few hits here and there through nine innings, the Giants lineup was silent. Buster Posey, a .311 hitter, had one RBI on no hits. Hunter Pence had a hit and a walk with no RBI’s or runs scored. Pablo Sandoval, who had been getting on base in every game during this post-season, had four plate appearances and for the first time didn’t get a hit or walk.
If you look at all the Giants who hit and scored in Game One, we have to ask, what happened to the San Francisco hitting?
Their starter for the night, Tim Hudson, pitched well enough to win most games, but it wasn’t enough. In his 15-year career, this was Hudson’s first appearance in a World Series.
The Giants are starting to get their backs pushed up against the wall. There are definitely two more games to be played and possibly four more, so they are not out of it, but today’s game is now looking like a must win for the Giants, for their morale as a team. If they let the Royals go up in this series 3-1 it will give a tremendous psychological edge to Kansas City.
Although they were tied with the Nationals and Cardinals in the NLDS and the NLCS, they were never behind in those series. They went four games with the Nationals and five with the Cardinals, losing only one game in each series.
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Final note on Game Three: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer had one hit and one RBI in his four at-bats. Not only did his team win the game, it was his birthday. Happy Birthday and congratulations Eric.
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Game Four is today here in AT&T Park in San Francisco. The Royals will send lefty Jason Vargas to the mound to start. He’s not a hard thrower, but he’s had a decent post-season, allowing three runs over 11 and a third innings pitched. His post-season ERA is 2.38.
Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong starts for the Giants. His last start wasn’t very good; he allowed four runs in three innings pitched. But before that Vogelsong has been a solid pitcher. His post-season ERA is 2.16.
Game time is 5:07 local time, 8:07 Eastern Time.
All photos by Claudia Gestro