KANSAS CITY (AFP) – Eric Hosmer drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the 14th inning to give Kansas City a 5-4 win over the New York Mets in Tuesday’s emotional opener of the 111th World Series.
An intense Major League Baseball thriller featured the first inside the park World Series home run in 86 years by Kansas City’s Alcides Escobar and Royals starting pitcher Edinson Volquez reportedly grieving the death of his father hours earlier.
The drama stretched to extra innings at 4-4 after Royals’ slugger Alex Gordon blasted a one-out homer over the centerfield wall in the ninth inning, the latest tying homer in a Series game since 2001.
And the tension of a game that matched the longest by innings in World Series history finally ended for a crowd of 40,320 in the 14th when Escobar reached first on a throwing error by Mets third baseman David Wright, took third on Ben Zobrist’s single and scored the winning run on Hosmer’s fly out to right field.
The game matched the record longest set by legend Babe Ruth’s complete-game victory for Boston over Brooklyn in game two of the 1916 World Series and the Chicago White Sox’s 7-5 triumph at Houston in game three in 2005.
Kansas City hosts game two Wednesday in the best-of-seven final before it shifts to New York. Game one winners have taken the title 62 percent of the time, including 11 of the past 12 years.
Each team is trying to snap a long championship drought. The Royals won their only World Series in 1985 while the Mets last captured the crown in 1986.
Juan Lagares gave New York a 4-3 lead in the eighth, smacking a two-out single up the middle, stealing second base and scoring on an error by Kansas City first baseman Hosmer, who missed on a backhand fielding attempt of a Wilmer Flores ball that rolled into the outfield.
Mets closing relief ace Jeurys Familia ended a threat in the eighth but the 26-year-old Dominican right-hander surrendered the tying homer to Gordon in the ninth, his first blown save opportunity since July 30.
Kansas City’s Paulo Orlando, the first Brazilian player in World Series history, reached third with the bases loaded in the 12th but Mets 42-year-old reliever Bartolo Colon got Jarrod Dyson to fly out to extend the duel.
Orlando had a chance to be the hero again in the 13th but grounded out to end the inning with Mike Moustakas on second.
The Royals were reportedly playing in the wake of tragedy as ESPN said Dominican right-handed starting pitcher Volquez’s 63-year-old father Daniel died of a heart attack earlier in the day in the Dominican Republic and that Volquez knew it as he took the mound for his World Series debut.
Volquez allowed three runs on six hits while striking out three, throwing 53 strikes in 78 pitches.
The Royals have already been touched by player parent deaths. Pitcher Chris Young’s father Charles died of cancer last month and third baseman Mike Moustakas’ mother Connie died of cancer in August.
Escobar smashed the first offering from Mets starter Matt Harvey, a 95-mph fastball, for an inside the park home run, only the 12th in World Series history.
It was the first World Series inside the park homer since George “Mule’’ Haas hit one for the Philadelphia A’s in game four of the 1929 World Series and the first inside the park leadoff homer since Boston’s Patsy Dougherty in game two of the first World Series in 1903.
Venezuelan slugger Escobar’s deep fly ball was bungled by Mets centerfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The ball struck Cespedes and he kicked it. The ball rolled along the bottom of the outfield wall as Escobar raced around the bases.
But the Mets pulled even in the fourth when Daniel Murphy singled, took third base on Lucas Duda’s single and scored on a Travis d’Arnaud single.