Cueto's 2-hitter sends Royals over Mets for 2-0 Series lead
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 29, 2015 03:10 PM
Kansas City Royals pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) celebrates the end of the top of the eighth inning of Game 2 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the New York Mets Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
AP Baseball Writer
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Many Kansas City fans lingered in Kauffman Stadium after Wednesday's 7-1 win over the New York Mets, knowing the next time they see the Royals in the flesh, it may be in a tickertape parade.
Johnny Cueto pitched a complete game to give Kansas City a 2-0 lead in the World Series and a chance to clinch the title in New York, which which is scheduled to host the three games in the best-of-seven series, starting Friday.
However the Royals players and fans don't need long memories to recall what can go wrong, having also led San Francisco in last year's losing World Series.
"There's still a lot of work yet to do," said first baseman Eric Hosmer. "Last year we took a 2-1 lead in San Francisco and were feeling pretty good about ourselves."
Forty-one of the 51 teams to take 2-0 leads in best-of-seven World Series have gone on to win the title, including nine straight since Atlanta stumbled against the New York Yankees in 1996.
After a 14-inning epic in Game 1, which the Royals won on Hosmer's sacrifice fly, Game 2 was a far quicker and more pedestrian affair.
The Mets went ahead through Lucas Duda's single to left field in the top of the fourth inning.
It was in the bottom of the fifth that the game turned, as the Royals wore down New York starter Jacob de Grom, hitting 14 fouls and scoring four runs.
De Grom had held Kansas City to one hit through the first four innings but soon got in trouble in the fifth, when he walked Alex Gordon leading off.
Alex Rios followed with a single and Alcides Escobar fouled off a pair of bunt attempts before driving an 0-2 pitch up the middle to tie the game 1-1.
Ben Zobrist's grounder advanced the runners, and Lorenzo Cain fouled off four pitches before a flyout to short center brought in a second run. Hosmer's hit rebounded off the mound into center field for a 3-1 lead, and Kendrys Morales' singled in another run.
Kansas City had the best contact hitters in the major leagues this season, missing on just 19.7 percent of swings, according to STATS. The Dodgers and Cubs swung and missed 58 times in deGrom's first three postseason outings, but he got just three swings and misses against the Royals — his career low.
"We don't swing and miss," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We find ways to just keep putting the ball in play until you find holes."
Of deGrom's 94 pitches, 23 were fouled off.
"I told Jake not everything has to be a strike," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You've got to move it around. You've got to change speeds, give them something to look at. If you continue to pound the strike zone, they're going to put it in play, and that's what they did."
Gordon added an RBI double in the eighth off Jon Niese, a ball off the glove of shortstop Wilmer Flores. Paulo Orlando, the first Brazil-born player to appear in a Series, followed with a sacrifice fly against Addison Reed, and Escobar tripled in a run as the Royals ran away with the game.
Cueto has struggled on the road, but since the Royals acquired him from Cincinnati in July, he's been Johnny on the spot at Kauffman Stadium. He pitched two-hit ball over eight innings to win Game 5 of the Division Series against Houston, and Kansas City lined up its Series rotation to have Cueto starting Games 2 and 6 at home.
He gave up only two hits, the lowest in complete game by an AL pitcher in the World Series since 1967, and the first complete Series game by an AL pitcher since 1991.
"That's what they brought me here for, was to help win a World Series," Cueto said.
The teams take Thursday off then New York's Citi Field hosts its first Series game Friday, when rookie Noah Syndergaard starts for the Mets and Yordano Ventura for the Royals.