Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Giants Grab Series Lead

San Francisco won Game 1 behind a brilliant start from Madison Bumgarner (WSOCTV)
The Royals' postseason winning streak of 11 (dating back to the 1985 World Series) was snapped last night as Kansas City lost Game 1 of the World Series, 7-1. The San Francisco Giants, making their third World Series appearance in five years, earned a decisive Game 1 victory on the road to open the Series.

The Royals' meek offense was no match for Giants' ace Madison Bumgarner, who held them to three hits and one run over seven stellar innings. The southpaw continued his month-long run of dominance, lowering his ERA in these playoffs to a microscopic 1.40 while improving his career postseason record to 6-3.

Meanwhile, "Big Game" James Shields failed to live up to his reputation once again, as he was bombed for five runs and seven hits in three innings. Shields struggled from the get-go, allowing hits to five of the first six batters he faced as San Francisco jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. He seemed to settle down with 1-2-3 innings in the second and third, only to unravel again in the fourth. Hunter Pence stroked a leadoff double, Brandon Belt followed with a walk, and Michael Morse singled to drive Pence home.

That was all for Shields, who saw his postseason ERA swell to 5.74 with the poor outing. Danny Duffy came on in relief and walked in a run before getting himself out of a bases loaded, one out jam.

But the damage was done. The Giants would have all the runs they would need on a night when Bumgarner was practically unhittable. San Francisco padded its lead to 7-0 in the seventh, and when Salvador Perez touched MadBum for a solo shot in the bottom half of the frame the game was already out of reach. Bumgarner departed after 106 pitches, having struck out five against only one walk, and the Giants bullpen took it from there.

Tonight's Game 2 becomes a must-win for the Royals, who need to even the series before traveling to San Francisco for Games 3, 4, and 5. They'll send young Yordano Ventura, their 23 year-old flamethrowing rookie, to the mound against Jake Peavy, a major league veteran of 13 years. Peavy, pitching in the Fall Classic for the second year in a row, has been a revelation since being traded from Boston in late July. Ventura was excellent in his ALDS start but struggled against Baltimore in the ALCS, so it's tough to say how he'll perform in his first World Series start. Peavy's on a roll, with a 2.14 ERA since joining San Francisco, and will look to maintain that momentum against a meager Royals lineup that managed just four hits against his teammates last night.

In a matchup of young versus old, Kansas City needs its youth to step up, otherwise there may not be another game at Kaufmann Stadium this year after tonight.

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