NEW YORK: Sparked by the most amazing rally yet in a comeback-filled playoff run, the Kansas City Royals captured their first World Series title in 30 years Sunday by defeating the New York Mets 7-2 in 12 innings.
The Royals took Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven championship final four games to one after scoring twice in the ninth inning to equalise and breaking open the contest with five runs in the final inning.
Lorenzo Cain scored the Royals’ first run in the crucial ninth inning and smacked a three-run double in the 12th that sealed New York’s fate, ending the Mets’ dream of their first World Series title since 1986.
Instead, the Royals captured their first crown since ’85 with their record eighth come-from-behind playoff victory, including all four of their World Series triumphs. Seven of them were multi-run rallies to win.
Inspired by a seven-game loss to San Francisco in last year’s World Series, the Royals became the first team since the ’89 Oakland A’s to win the World Series a year after losing it. They are the first team since the ’61 Yankees to lose in a seventh game and win the title the next year.
Deadlocked 2-2 after nine innings, the game went into the 12th with the title poised on a knife’s edge.
Kansas City’s Salvador Perez singled down the right-field line off Mets reliever Addison Reed to open the 12th. Pinch-runner Jerrod Dyson replaced Perez and promptly stole second base, taking third when Eric Gordon grounded out to first.
Pinch-hitter Christian Colon then smacked a single to left field to score Dyson and give Kansas City their first lead at 3-2.
Brazilian Paulo Orlando then reached on a fielder’s choice that advanced Colon on an error by Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy.
Alcides Escobar then stretched his playoff hit streak to 15 games with a run-scoring double to left and Ben Zobrist was intentionally walked to load the bases, setting the stage for Cain’s double to left center field to clear the bases and produce the final margin.
New York’s Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff home run in the first inning and scored again after walking in the fourth to give the Mets a 2-0 advantage.
Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey, a 26-year-old right-hander, baffled the Royals for eight shutout innings, striking out nine while scattering four hits and two walks as only one runner got past first base.
But in the ninth inning, the Royals added to their legend as comeback kings as Cain opened the ninth with a walk and stole second base, allowing him to race home on Eric Hosmer’s double to left field and cut the Mets’ lead to 2-1.
That prompted Mets manager Terry Collins to remove Harvey in favor of Dominican closing relief ace Jeurys Familia, who promptly surrendered a ground out to first by Mike Moustakas that advanced Hosmer to third base.
Perez then grounded out but Hosmer raced home and scored the tying run as an errant desperation throw home by Lucas Duda was way off target.
Kansas City right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez, making his first appearance since attending his father Daniel’s funeral in their native Dominican Republic, threw well over six innings.
Volquez, who drew his father’s initials in the dirt on the back of the pitcher’s mound, allowed two runs on two hits and walked five while striking out five.
Volquez was not told of his father’s death Tuesday until after he threw six innings in Kansas City’s 5-4 victory in the series opener. He was told after he left the game and flew the next day to his homeland, rejoining the team Saturday.