Baseball

MLB – 2014 World Series: Giants ace Bumgarner wins World Series MVP

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Madison Bumgarner was limbering up at Kauffman Stadium this week, getting loose with his San Francisco teammates near the dugout, when Tim Hudson and Michael Morse sneaked up from behind and ruffled the pitcher’s long, scraggly locks.

That was way too hairy for Bumgarner. He quickly spun and playfully sparred with the mischief makers.

They were about the only ones who could touch Bumgarner in this World Series.

“Yeah, it was hopeless,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost acknowledged.

The 25-year-old Bumgarner capped off a most splendid October and earned MVP honors Wednesday night, pitching five scoreless innings of relief in Game 7 as the Giants held off the Kansas City Royals 3-2.

Moments after he retired Salvador Perez on a foul pop with a runner on third base for the final out, Bumgarner insisted he wasn’t worn down. About a half-hour later,… Continue reading

MLB – 2014 World Series: Bumgarner leads Giants to World Series triumph

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants succeeded where no team had in 3 1/2 decades, winning Game 7 on the road for their third World Series title in five years.

Punctuating one of the finest October performances in baseball history, Bumgarner came out of the bullpen to pitch five scoreless innings on two days’ rest for his third win of the Series, and the Giants held off the Kansas City Royals 3-2 Wednesday night in a championship pushed to the limit.

A two-out misplay in the ninth almost wrecked it for Bumgarner and the Giants. He had retired 14 in a row when Alex Gordon’s single fell in front of center fielder Gregor Blanco, who let the ball get past him for an error that allowed Gordon to reach third.

Bumgarner calmly retired Salvador Perez on a foulout to third Pedro Sandoval. Bumgarner… Continue reading

MLB – 2014 World Series: Royals rout Giants 10-0, Series goes to Game 7

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Madison Bumgarner is ready to pitch in for Game 7.

The biggest World Series ace of all plans to be in the bullpen Wednesday night, just in case the San Francisco Giants need him against the Kansas City Royals for an out or two.

Or possibly a few more.

Asked how many pitches he could throw in relief, MadBum tossed out a playful estimate: “I said maybe 200.”

From the outset Tuesday night in Game 6, there was little doubt this Series was headed to the limit.

The Royals turned bloops, bouncers and a botched grounder into a blowout, scoring seven runs in the second inning. Rookie Yordano Ventura, pitching with the initials of late St. Louis outfielder Oscar Taveras on his cap, cruised to a 10-0 rout.

Now, a true treat for everyone: A winner-take-all matchup, with Jeremy Guthrie pitching for the Royals… Continue reading

MLB – 2014 World Series: Free agency looms after World Series concludes

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KANSAS CITY (AP) — Giants star Pablo Sandoval dug into the batter’s box in Game 5 of the World Series, peering out at Royals ace James Shields standing on the mound.

By next month, both of them could be wearing different jerseys.

San Francisco was trying to wrap up its third championship in five years when it returned to Kansas City for Game 6 on Tuesday night. But once the Fall Classic ends, the attention will shift in a matter of days to next season, and the free agency that looms for several players from both pennant winners.

“It’s the business of baseball,” Royals outfielder Josh Willingham said.

Sandoval is the biggest name looming for San Francisco, but there’s also World Series starters Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong, reliever Sergio Romo and outfielder Michael Morse.

Shields is the most critical piece in limbo for Kansas City. Willingham… Continue reading

MLB – 2014 World Series: Facing elimination, Royals need Yordano Ventura to deliver in Game 6

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(PhatzRadio / SI)     —    SAN FRANCISCO — They fell in the love with the fastball. With Yordano Ventura, it has always been all about that fastball. He was 17 years old when he showed up at the Royals‘ Dominican Republic Academy as an impossibly skinny kid, only 120 pounds; not exactly “can’t miss” with that kind of slight frame. He didn’t have the body, or the command, or the assortment of pitches. But he did have the one pitch: a fastball that came so easy out of his right hand, one that convinced the Royals to give the boy from Samana $28,000 to sign. It was a pitch that would become a key part of the Royals’ baseball revival.

Now it is six years later, and a great baseball dream in Kansas City rests on the narrow shoulders… Continue reading

MLB – 2014 World Series: Bumgarner, Giants blank Royals for 3-2 Series lead

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(PhatzRadio / AP)     —   SAN FRANCISCO — With every pitch, Madison Bumgarner etched his place among the World Series greats.

The long, tall lefty kept slinging away and put the San Francisco Giants just one win from yet another championship, throwing a four-hitter to beat the Kansas City Royals 5-0 Sunday night for a 3-2 Series edge.

Hardly menacing on the mound, Bumgarner was simply untouchable — again — as “MVP! MVP!” chants broke out in the late innings.

And by the time the 25-year-old from Hickory, N.C., closed out his second win in a week, he had evoked memories of Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Curt Schilling and the top October aces of all-time.

Joined them, and maybe even passed them.

Who else has gone 4-0 in four World Series starts with an 0.29 ERA? Throw in only 12 hits in 31 innings,… Continue reading

MLB – 2014 World Series: Giants surge past Royals 11-4 to tie Series 2-all

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The World Series was slipping away from the San Francisco Giants.

A botched grounder led to a three-run deficit, and they were in danger of falling behind the Kansas City Royals three games to one.

Instead of panic, it was time for some Panda-monium.

Pablo Sandoval’s single set up Hunter Pence to score the tying run in the fifth inning and the 2012 Series MVP followed with a go-ahead, two-run single in the sixth that sent the Giants surging past the Kansas City Royals 11-4 Saturday night at pulsating AT&T Park.

The Series is tied at two games apiece, ensuring the title will be decided at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium next week.

”We never give up, that’s the thing,” said Sandoval, who shook off a stomach bug after starting to feel ill Friday. ”We’ve been doing it all year in these situations. We know… Continue reading

MLB – 2014 World Series: Royals beat Giants 3-2 for 2-1 World Series lead

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sparkling defense, a stingy bullpen and just enough timely hitting. That winning formula of fundamental baseball has put the Kansas City Royals ahead in the World Series.

They even looked comfortable in the tricky territory at unfamiliar AT&T Park.

Jeremy Guthrie outpitched fellow World Series newcomer Tim Hudson, four Royals relievers combined on four hitless innings and Kansas City beat the San Francisco Giants 3-2 Friday night for a 2-1 lead in the Fall Classic.

Alex Gordon hit a run-scoring double for his first hit of the Series in 10 at-bats and Lorenzo Cain added an RBI and some slick defense in right field as the Royals backed Guthrie with nifty glove work.

Eric Hosmer had a sixth-inning RBI single in an 11-pitch at-bat for his first World Series hit — on his 25th birthday.

Game 4 is Saturday night, with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong trying… Continue reading

MLB – 2014 World Series: Pivotal Game 3 in World Series

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(PhatzRadio / AP)    —   SAN FRANCISCO — Eric Hosmer loaded up, launched a long fly and watched it sail toward McCovey Cove. Way out there in right field, near the 421-foot mark, the ball bonked off the brick wall.

No splash shot.

“We were definitely trying to hit ‘em,” the Kansas City first baseman said. “We took turns trying, but no one did.”

Even so, Hosmer liked what he saw during a workout Thursday as many Royals got their first look at San Francisco’s waterfront ballpark.

Starting in Game 3 of the World Series tonight against the Giants, they might also discover what makes AT&T Park so unique.

“It’s a little quirky out there,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said.

Just wait until someone trips over a bullpen mound chasing a foul ball. Or somebody loses a fly in the mist that wafts… Continue reading

MLB – 2014 World Series: Royals beat Giants 7-2, even World Series 1-all

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Billy Butler hit a tiebreaking single, Salvador Perez and Omar Infante drove in two runs each with big hits in a five-run sixth inning, and the Kansas City Royals beat the San Francisco Giants 7-2 Wednesday night to even the World Series at one game apiece.

A night after the Giants opened with a 7-1 victory for their seventh straight Series win, Gregor Blanco led off the game with a home run against hard-throwing rookie Yordano Ventura. Brandon Belt tied the score 2-all with an RBI double in the fourth.

Butler’s single off Jean Machi drove in his second run of the night and put the Royals ahead 3-2. Perez lined a two-run double to the left-center wall for a three-run lead, and Infante homered into the left-field bullpen off Hunter Strickland.

Game 3 is Friday night in San Francisco.

Alcides… Continue reading

MLB – 2014 World Series: Bumgarner, Giants stop Royals 7-1 in Series opener

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants put a sudden stop to the Kansas City Royals’ perfect postseason roll.

Bumgarner pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning, Hunter Pence homered early and the Giants showed off their October poise, shutting down the Royals 7-1 Tuesday night in the World Series opener.

From the get-go, the Giants simply did everything right to win their seventh straight World Series game. There’s a reason Bumgarner and these guys in black and orange are trying for their third title in five years.

The Royals, meanwhile, looked nothing like the fresh team that had become baseball’s darlings by starting the playoffs with eight wins in a row — pitching, hitting and fielding all deserted them.

The fates seemed to change from the very first batter, in fact. Gregor Blanco led off with a soft line drive to center… Continue reading

MLB – 2014 World Series: Royals vs. Giants position-by-position breakdown

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On Monday’s SI Now, Sports Illustrated senior writer Tom Verducci discusses what makes the Kansas City Royals stick out from any other team in the postseason and why the Royals have an edge over the Giants.

 

 

(PhatzRadio / Sports Illustrated)   —   After two rounds and a Wild-Card Game each, the Royals and Giants have captured their respective pennants and now fight for the World Series. But how does each team stack up against its opponent in the Fall Classic?

To find out, check out our position-by-position breakdown, as Cliff Corcoran (Giants) and Jay Jaffe (Royals) break down the starting lineups, rotations, bullpens, benches and managers for each team. See who has the edge at the plate, on the mound and in the dugout for this year’s unexpected World Series matchup.

Complete postseason schedule, start times and TV listings

CATCHER
BUSTER POSEY SALVADOR… Continue reading

MLB – 2014 World Series: Royals, fans bond over improbable postseason run

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KANSAS CITY (AP) — The game had been over for hours. Kauffman Stadium had gone dark. The roars of a sold-out crowd, which had rooted the Kansas City Royals to a sweep of the mighty Los Angeles Angels, had drifted away into the cool night air.

A few miles away, at a bar and grill called McFadden’s, the party was just beginning.

Greg Holland had showed up, the All-Star closer watching with a grin as highlights of the game played on television. Salvador Perez and Jarrod Dyson, both integral parts in the Royals’ playoff push, posed with fans for more pictures than they could count. First baseman Eric Hosmer put down his credit card and for a full hour picked up the tab for hundreds of strangers.

“It’s fun to get to enjoy it with the whole entire city. It’s a special time,” Hosmer said a few… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Ishikawa’s 3-run HR sends Giants to World Series

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) It was the Shot That Shook the Bay.

Travis Ishikawa hit the first homer to end an NL Championship Series, a three-run drive that sent San Francisco to a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 on Thursday night.

These every-other-year Giants will face the Royals in an all wild-card World Series that begins Tuesday night in Kansas City.

A journeyman who began the season with Pittsburgh, Ishikawa connected for the first game-ending home run that sent the Giants into the World Series since perhaps the most famous drive in baseball history – Bobby Thomson’s ”Shot Heard `Round the World” in a 1951 playoff.

”It’s gratifying,” Ishikawa said. ”If there’s an organization I’d want to do it for, it would be this one.”

A role player during the Giants’ World Series win in 2010, Ishikawa was with Milwaukee in 2012… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Giants rally to beat Cardinals in NLCS Game 4; one win from World Series

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(PhatzRadio / AP)    —    Three thoughts from the Giants’ come-from-behind, 6-4 win over the Cardinals in Game 4 of the National League Championship, which puts them one win away from the World Series.

1. Battle Of The Bullpens: It was obvious early on that Game 4 would not be a tightly contested pitcher’s duel. Playoff hero Ryan Vogelsong, who had allowed just four earned runs in 30 1/3 career postseason innings, didn’t even make it into the fourth on Thursday night, giving up four runs on seven hits, including three doubles and a homer. Shelby Miller wasn’t much better, getting chased after 3 2/3 innings with three earned runs to his name. With neither starter providing length, Bruce Bochy and Mike Matheny were forced to go to their bullpens early, though only Matheny went often.

For Bochy, the plan to… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Cain wins ALCS MVP

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lorenzo Cain capped the AL Championship Series with his best catch yet: an MVP trophy.

The smooth center fielder snagged MVP honors after helping the Kansas City Royals to a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles with a 2-1 victory Wednesday.

Along with making a series of splendid defensive plays, Cain batted .533 in the series and scored five runs. He had eight hits, matching the franchise record for an ALCS set by Willie Wilson — who also wore No. 6 and roamed center field — in 1985 against Toronto.

“Unbelievable feeling,” Cain said. “I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.”

Indeed, what a month it’s been for Cain, who went home to Oklahoma between playoff series to be with his wife, Jenny, for the birth of their first child, Cameron Loe.

Cain rejoined the team in plenty of time to torment the Orioles… Continue reading

Breaking News: Kansas City Royals sweep Baltimore Orioles to reach World Series for first time since 1985

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Crown these Royals the American League champions.

After nearly three decades spent trying to return to the playoffs, Kansas City is taking its perfect postseason ride all the way to the World Series.

With more dominant defense, an opportunistic offense that plated two runs in the first inning, and a bullpen that shut down the Baltimore Orioles once again, Greg Holland and the wild-card Royals wrapped up a sweep of the AL Championship Series with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday.

Next stop: The Royals’ first Fall Classic since 1985. They’ll face the winner of the NLCS between the Giants and Cardinals. San Francisco leads 2-1.

“It’s been an amazing run. This is great,” said left fielder Alex Gordon, who made another jarring catch. “We’ve been playing pretty good baseball. It’s nothing better than when you win. Today, same old story: good pitching,… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Royals edge Orioles 2-1 to take 3-0 lead in ALCS / Giants beat Cardinals in 10th on Choate wild throw in NLCS

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals have embraced the bloop, bunt and sacrifice fly all postseason.

Add in more sparkling defense and that dominant bullpen, and the wild-card Royals are suddenly one win from the World Series.

Billy Butler drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, and the Royals’ steel-curtain bullpen shut down the Baltimore Orioles the rest of the way for a 2-1 win Tuesday night and a commanding 3-0 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas made two marvelous plays as the picture-perfect Royals won their 10th straight postseason game, including all seven this year. Making its first playoff appearance in 29 years, the only thing that’s slowed Kansas City so far was a rainout Monday.

Kansas City will send Jason Vargas to the mound for Game 4 on Wednesday, trying to advance… Continue reading

MLB Payoffs: ALCS Game 3 postponed because of rain

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KANSAS CITY (AP) — The last two times the Kansas City Royals played a postseason game at home, rain fell after the final out. This time, it started well before the first pitch.

Game 3 of the AL Championship Series between the Royals and Baltimore Orioles was postponed Monday because of steady rain that saturated Kauffman Stadium. The game was rescheduled for 7:07 p.m. today.

Along with steady rain, wind gusts of 25 mph were buffeting the ballpark. The forecast for today is cold and windy but dry, with weather improving the rest of the week.

“We want a game we know we can get through nine innings, hopefully play dry baseball, not risk player safety or uncomfortable fans,” Major League Baseball senior vice president Peter Woodfork said about 4 hours before the scheduled first pitch.

The Royals, who lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, will keep… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Wong homers in 9th, Cards edge Giants to tie NLCS

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ST. LOUIS (AP) Kolten Wong ended Game 2 of the NL Championship Series with a big swing for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Now, they can only hope the season isn’t over for Yadier Molina.

Wong hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning and the resilient Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 5-4 Sunday night, tying the best-of-seven series at one game apiece with their latest postseason power show.

The Cardinals came back after losing Molina to a strained oblique muscle in the sixth. The All-Star catcher was getting further tests and manager Mike Matheny said it ”didn’t look real good.”

”We’ll wait and see and right now we’ll just go ahead and keep celebrating a very tough, hard-fought win. I am real proud at how these guys kept coming,” Matheny said.

St. Louis didn’t stay down too long, getting a home run… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Orioles lose to Royals 6-4, behind 2-0 in ALCS / Bumgarner tames Cardinals, Giants take NLCS lead

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BALTIMORE (AP) — If Adam Jones was deflated after his Baltimore Orioles dropped the opening two games of the AL Championship Series at home against the Kansas City Royals, he was not about to let on.

“Let’s get back after it. We’re going to go to K.C. We’ve been a very good team on the road,” Jones said. “So let’s go there and have some fun, eat some barbecue.”
Video
Cain’s diving catch

Jones’ first career postseason homer went for naught Saturday, as closer Zach Britton and the rest of Baltimore’s suddenly shaky bullpen picked a terrible time to lose consecutive home games for the first time since June. Erasing deficits but unable to take a lead, the Orioles were beaten by the wild-card Royals 6-4 when Britton gave up the tiebreaking hit in the ninth inning.

The series shifts to Kansas City for Game 3 on… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Gordon-led Royals beat Orioles 8-6 in ALCS

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BALTIMORE (AP) — These Kansas City Royals, and Alex Gordon in particular, are way more than just speed and singles.

Gordon hit a tiebreaking homer in the 10th inning, Mike Moustakas added a two-run shot and the Royals defeated the Baltimore Orioles 8-6 Friday night in the opener of the AL Championship Series.

Earlier, Gordon doubled in three runs, was picked off first base, made a great catch in left field and got hit in the neck with a pitch.

But his most memorable moment came when he lined a pitch from Darren O’Day into the right-field seats. That was enough to provide the Royals with their fourth extra-inning victory in five games this postseason.

As the ball soared over the wall, O’Day flung his cap to the ground in frustration.

Moustakas followed with another shot to right, this one off Brian Matusz with a runner on.… Continue reading

MLB: NLCS teams set rosters – Pierzynski, Morse added to clubs

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(PhatzRadio / AP)    —   ST. LOUIS — The San Francisco Giants expect to add Michael Morse to the roster for the NL Championship Series, while the St. Louis Cardinals strengthened their bench by including catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Friday that Morse looked good playing in the instructional league, saying he had homered. Morse was en route to St. Louis, where the best-of-seven series starts tonight.

“Really encouraged with his at-bats down there,” Bochy said. “Once we see him and talk to him, all is fine. He is on the roster, then the first game he will be used off the bench.”

Morse was not on the division series roster. He hit .279 with 16 homers and 61 RBI this season, but he’s had only two at-bats since Aug. 31 because of a strained oblique muscle.

The 37-year-old Pierzynski replaces… Continue reading

MLB: A capsule look at Royals-Orioles playoff series

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(PhatzRadio / USA Today)    —   A look at the best-of-seven American League Championship Series between the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles:

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Schedule: (All times EDT) Game 1, Friday, at Baltimore (8:07 p.m.); Game 2, Saturday, at Baltimore (4:07 p.m.); Game 3, Monday, Oct. 13, at Kansas City (8:07 p.m.); Game 4, Tuesday, Oct. 14, at Kansas City (8:07 p.m.); x-Game 5, Wednesday, Oct. 15, at Kansas City (4:07 p.m.); x-Game 6, Friday, Oct. 17, at Baltimore (8:07 p.m.); x-Game 7, Saturday, Oct. 18, at Baltimore (8:07 p.m.). (All games on TBS).

x-if necessary.

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Season Series: Royals won 4-3.

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Projected Lineup:

Royals: SS Alcides Escobar (.285, 3 HRs, 50 RBIs, 31 SBs), RF Nori Aoki (.285, 1, 43, 17 SBs), CF Lorenzo Cain (.301, 5, 53, 28 SBs), 1B Eric Hosmer (.270, 9, 58), DH Billy Butler (.271, 9, 66), LF… Continue reading

MLB Playoffs: Homegrown talent key to another NLCS

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Changing cast, same old hit show for the St. Louis Cardinals.

In the NL Championship Series for the fourth straight year, the Cardinals used just five players from their 2011 World Series champions in the just-completed four-game Division Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Sixteen players carried over from the roster in last year’s World Series loss to Boston.

“We wanted to make sure we could do this internally and have the depth to be successful and build from within,” general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday night amid the ruckus of yet another champagne spraying celebration. “You’re seeing that pay off now.”

Fifteen of the 25 players active against the Dodgers were Cardinals’ amateur draft picks, the most among the 10 playoff teams. Along with the savings of carrying so much youth, there’s camaraderie, too, with players who came up together.… Continue reading

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