KANSAS CITY – Late-inning dramatics have been unusually absent through this World Series. In fact, the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants have produced the first Fall Classic ever where five of the first six games were decided by five or more runs.
While there was plenty of room for some of that classic October theater that’s become so common in Game Six, it was not to be Tuesday night in Kauffman Stadium. The Royals tied the Series at three games apiece in a 10-0 clubbing of the Giants, who are trying to become just the second National League team to win three titles in five years, and the first since the St. Louis Cardinals of the 1940s. “To be in this situation is what you dream about going back to when you were a kid,” manager Bruce Bochy said before the game. “But it’s also back to spring training what you talk about to get to this point. ... The fact you know you’re at this point is exciting and these guys are excited to go out there.”
“You always hope you’ll be back, but I kind of saw the opposite of it when we made it to the 2012 World Series,” said first baseman Brandon Belt. “I kind of realized how hard it is to get to this point. I can see how players can go their entire careers without making it ... You kind of cherish that moment and I think that’s what we’re doing.”
The Giants hit town with a series lead, just like the St. Louis Cardinals did the last time Game Six was in Kansas City in 1985.
The Cardinals, of course, never got that fourth win as first-base umpire Don Denkinger’s blown call at first base in the ninth inning of Game Six went down in World Series infamy. The Royals rallied to win, 2-1, on Dane Iorg’s two-run single and cruised in Game Seven, 11-0.
The Denkinger play is one of a litany of wild moments in Game Six of the World Series in the last 40 years. It all started for real in 1975, with Carlton Fisk’s 12th-inning home run off the foul pole at Fenway Park that beat the Cincinnati Reds.
And there have been been plenty more in Game Six since Fisk. Consider this roll call:
• 1977: Reggie Jackson’s three home runs on three swings propel the Yankees to an 8-4 win over the Dodgers and a Series clincher.
• 1986: Bill Buckner’s error allows Ray Knight to score the winning run as the Mets rally for three runs in the bottom of the 10th to overcome the Red Sox, 6-5. After a rainout, the Sox lose Game Seven to the Mets two nights later, 8-5. It would be 18 more years before they could snap their title drought.
• 1991: After three straight losses in Atlanta, Kirby Puckett tells his Minnesota teammates, “Jump on my back, boys” and they do. Puckett makes a leaping catch against the wall and then cranks an 11th-inning home run off Charlie Leibrandt to give the Twins a 4-3 victory. They win the series the next night, 1-0, as Jack Morris pitches a 10-inning shutout.
• 1992: Toronto’s Dave Winfield strokes an 11th-inning double to give the Blue Jays the lead and they hold on to beat Atlanta, 4-3, sending the Series trophy to Canada for the first time.
• 1993: Toronto’s Joe Carter jolts Philadelphia closer Mitch Williams with a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to give the Blue Jays an 8-6 win over the Phillies. Carter joins Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski as the only players to end a World Series with a home run.
• 1995: Atlanta’s Tom Glavine and Mark Wohlers combine for just the second one-hitter in Series history and David Justice hits a seventh-inning homer as the Braves beat Cleveland, 1-0, to wrap up their only championship in Atlanta.
• 2002: It took 52 years after the move from New York for San Francisco to finally win a title in 2010 in Texas – after the team and its fans thought for sure it was won eight years earlier. The Giants had a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh of a potential clincher in Anaheim until the Rally Monkey appeared on the scoreboard and the Halos came back for two straight three-run innings and a 6-5 win. They won a mundane Game Seven the next night, 4-1.
• 2011: One strike away from losing the series to the Rangers in both the ninth and 10th innings, the Cardinals pull out an incredible 10-9 victory on David Freese’s solo homer in the bottom of the 11th. Freese’s last-strike, two-out triple to right had tied the game in the ninth.
• 2013: Not much drama as the Red Sox cruise past the Cardinals, 6-1, but Boston clinched a championship in Fenway Park for the first time in 95 years.