City Royals pitcher Greg Holland throws during the
ninth inning of Game 7 of baseball's World Series
against the San Francisco Giants Wednesday, Oct. 29,
2014, in Kansas City, Mo.
CITY, Mo. — The roars from the field had died away.
Kauffman Stadium had fallen silent for the first time all
night. In the Royals' clubhouse, Alex Gordon had finally
peeled off his dirt-stained jersey.
He had just
watched the San Francisco Giants celebrate their third World
Series title in five years, capped by a 3-2 victory in Game
7 on Wednesday night. But all he could think about was
whether he could have scored the tying run with two outs in
the ninth inning.
was a good hold," Gordon said, eventually. "Close,
but just short."
the Royals' season along with their season finale.
had taken the lead in the fourth inning, and the game
amounted to a battle of bullpens. San Francisco turned to
its ace, Madison Bumgarner, and he kept breezing through the
Kansas City lineup, right up until Gordon's two-out single
to left field.
skipped past Gregor Blanco and reached the wall, and Gordon
churned around third base and headed home. But he couldn't
get a good read on where the ball was because of the lighted
scoreboard in left field, so he relied on third-base coach
Mike Jirschele for guidance.
said stop. Gordon put on the brakes.
City Royals fans watch during the eighth inning of
Game 7 of baseball's World Series against the San
Francisco Giants Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas
He was left
standing 90 feet from home when Sal Perez popped out to end
tough to pick the ball up from the dugout with that board
out there," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "There
was some hope that it might happened, but it didn't."
season will be remembered for much more than how close the
Royals came to forcing extra innings one more time. It will
be remembered for their 12-inning wild-card win over
Oakland, and sweeps of the Angels and Orioles in their first
playoff appearance since 1985.
It will be
remembered for Yordano Ventura's inspired pitching
performance in Game 6. And the gutsy performances by the
brilliant bullpen. It will be remembered for James Shields
and Wade Davis, and the way they taught a losing clubhouse
how to win.
It will be
remembered for waking a baseball-starved city from its
character we had in this clubhouse is what I'll remember the
most," said Shields, who now becomes a free agent and
will likely pitch elsewhere for next season.
battled," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "I think
you saw how much heart we have."
It was on
display one last time in the World Series.
Francisco Giants relief pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40)
pitches in the bottom of the fifth inning of Game 7 of
baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals
Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo.
splitting the first two games at home, Kansas City lost two
of three in San Francisco, returning to Kauffman Stadium
needing a victory just to force a deciding Game 7.
got it in a 10-0 rout behind Ventura, who dedicated the
victory to the late Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, his
good friend who died in a car crash over the weekend.
rallied once more in the finale, falling behind 2-0 in the
second inning when the Giants managed back-to-back sacrifice
flies against Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie.
bottom half, Butler laced a single up the middle, and Gordon
drove in a run with a double. He later took third base on a
fly out by Mike Moustakas, and then hustled home for the
tying run when Omar Infante sent another flyball to center
Giants regained the lead, though, the Royals couldn't find
City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) walks off the
field as San Francisco Giants players celebrates after
Game 7 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas
City Royals Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas City,
Mo. The Giants won 3-2 to win the series.
we wanted to win," Gordon said, "but to be in this
situation with these young guys and what they've done this
postseason, I'm just proud to be a part of this team."
question is whether it will take them another 29 years to
the likely departure of Shields, the Royals will have to
make some hard decisions with players such as Butler, who
holds a pricy option for next season. But young cornerstones
in Hosmer, Perez and Lorenzo Cain should provide the
foundation for the next few years.
know, the organization has a special time to build on what
we have here," Butler said, "and that's a rare
thing to have, to have this much talent in here and go into
next year having the majority of that back. Not every team
has that. We have an opportunity to build on that, and we
have an opportunity to be a better team next year."