KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alcides Escobar’s drive leading off the game hit off center fielder Yoenis Cespedes’ leg and kept rolling and rolling and rolling. And Escobar kept going and going and going.
Escobar hit the first inside-the-park home run leading off a World Series game since 1903, an adrenaline-charged beginning for the Kansas City Royals against the New York Mets.
Throwing the first World Series pitch of his career, New York’s Matt Harvey opened with a 95 mph, belt-high fastball over the outer part of the plate. Escobar sent the pitch soaring through the rain to left-center field. Rookie Michael Conforto ran over from left field, and Cespedes sprinted over from center, both converging on the ball.
They both seemed to stop and watch each other and the ball, which landed on the right leg of Cespedes, who never lifted his glove in an attempt for a catch. The ball rolled along the warning track toward left, and by the time Conforto retrieved it and threw to Wilmer Flores, there was no need for the shortstop to even throw home. Third base coach Mike Jirschele jumped and waved, and Escobar was able to slow down as he neared the plate. He scored standing up.
Escobar’s drive landed about 30 feet from Alex Gordon’s hit in the ninth inning of Game 7 last year against San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner, a single that skipped by center fielder Gregor Blanco for an error. Jirschele held up Gordon, who probably would have been thrown out easily by shortstop Brandon Crawford, who was in shallow left when he took the throw from left fielder Juan Perez. With the potential tying run 90 feet from home plate, Salvador Perez fouled out to third, ending the Royals’ season.