The Kansas City Royals are the 2015 World Series champions. On a chilly Sunday night, the Royals staged a dramatic come-from-behind win in New York to defeat the Mets and win the exciting series four games to one. At first glance at the 4-1 outcome, it appears as though the Mets were no match for the reigning American League champion Royals. However, the series came down to just a few decisive plays—had just a few of these specific plays turned out differently, the Mets may very well have won their first World Series championship since 1986.
After a heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the San Francisco Giants one year ago, the Royals returned to the World Series and finished the task. Salvador Perez, the Royals catcher, made the final out of last year’s World Series with the tying run only 90 feet away. This time around he was more successful, earning the 2015 World Series Most Valuable Player honor.
In Game 1, Edinson Volquez started for the Royals, facing off against Matt Harvey. On Harvey’s first pitch, Royals leadoff hitter, Alcides Escobar, hit an inside-the-park home run—the first since the 1929 World Series. Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson hit a solo home run in the fifth inning to put his team up 2-1. In the eighth inning, a 3-3 tie was broken when the Mets’ Juan Lagares scored on an Eric Hosmer fielding error. In the bottom of the ninth, Jeurys Familia allowed a game-tying home run to Alex Gordon, the first of Familia’s three blown saves in the series—a World Series record. In the 14th inning, after a throwing error by Mets third-baseman David Wright, Hosmer hit a walk-off sacrifice fly, scoring Escobar. Bartolo Colón became the oldest losing pitcher in World Series history.
In Game 2, the Mets struck first, scoring off of Johnny Cueto in the fourth inning, but they would remain shut down for the rest of the night, as Cueto threw the first World Series complete game by an AL pitcher since Jack Morris in 1991. Mets starter Jacob deGrom gave up four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, and the Royals would score three more times in the eighth to take a 2-0 series lead.
The series then moved to Citi Field in New York. The Mets threw Noah Syndergaard in Game 3 against Yordano Ventura. On the first pitch of the game, Syndergaard threw a pitch over the head of Alcides Escobar, leading to tempers flaring between both teams. In the third inning, the Royals held a 3-2 lead, but the Mets responded with a Curtis Granderson two-run homer in the bottom of the inning, before scoring seven more runs over the course of the game en route to a9-2 win. In the fifth inning, the Royals’ Raúl Mondesí became the first player ever to debut in the World Series, at just twenty years old.
Chris Young and Steven Matz faced off in Game 4. In the eighth inning, the Mets held a 3-2 lead. With one out, Daniel Murphy made a pivotal fielding error on an Eric Hosmer ground ball to second base that allowed the tying run to score. The Royals would score three runs in the inning, and with the help of a six-out save by closer Wade David, they would take the game 5-3.
In Game 5, the Mets trusted Matt Harvey, the Game 1 starter, with the ball to try to send the series back to Kansas City. Once again, he faced off against Edinson Volquez, who had just returned from his father’s funeral in the Dominican Republic. Granderson led off with a home run for the Mets, and the Mets found themselves leading 2-0 after eight innings. Matt Harvey, who had thrown eight shutout innings, convinced manager Terry Collins to make the controversial decision to let him go back out for the ninth.
Harvey gave up a walk to Lorenzo Cain and an RBI double to Eric Hosmer before being replaced by Jeurys Familia. On a David Wright throw to first base, Eric Hosmer bolted for home plate, scoring due to a bad throw by Mets first-baseman, Lucas Duda. In the 12th inning, with Mets Addison Reed pitching, Christian Colón, who had not stepped to the plate since October 4th, drove in Jarrod Dyson to put the Royals ahead. The Royals scored one more run off of Reed, and three more off of Bartolo Colón after a bases loaded double by Lorenzo Cain. Wade Davis then pitched a shutout inning to seal the Royals to their first World Series championship since 1985.
There certainly were several key moments that decided the outcome of this series: In Game 1, when Jeurys Familia gave up the game-tying homer to Alex Gordon, in Game 4, when Daniel Murphy’s error allowed the game-tying run in the eighth inning, and in Game 5, with Terry Collins letting Matt Harvey continue into the ninth inning, and Lucas Duda making the throwing error allowing Eric Hosmer to tie the game. Had these three situations gone differently, the Mets may have won the World Series. In these few situations, what looked like three convincing Mets victories were shattered. With surprising pivotal moments in each of the five games, the series did not disappoint.