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Royals outlast Mets in World Series Game 1 marathon

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If Game 1 on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium was any indication, this is going to be one highly-memorable World Series.

Alcides Escobar got the Royals on the board first, launching Matt Harvey‘s opening delivery to the warning track in center field and racing all the way around the bases on a Yoenis Cespedes misplay for a leadoff inside-the-park home run. It was the first inside-the-parker in a World Series game since Mule Haas rounded the bags for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1929 Fall Classic.

Travis d'Arnaud answered Escobar’s first-inning tally in the top of the fourth with an RBI infield single that bounced in and out of the glove of Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. Curtis Granderson then added a solo shot in the top of the fifth and Michael Conforto plated the Mets’ third run with a sacrifice fly to left field in the top of the sixth.

Kansas City would rally to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth, but the Mets took the lead again in the eighth when Wilmer Flores‘ bouncing ground ball got past Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, allowing Juan Lagares to race home from second base. It was the first go-ahead run scored on an error in a World Series game since the Bill Buckner incident in 1986, when the Mets beat the Red Sox to claim their second World Series title.

They’re now trying to claim their third, but it will be an uphill climb of sorts.

Alex Gordon gave Kansas City new life with a game-tying solo shot to center field in the bottom of the ninth — the first game-tying or go-ahead homer in the ninth inning or later of a World Series Game 1 since Kirk Gibson’s famous shot off Dennis Eckersley in 1988. And then Hosmer claimed redemption for his eighth-inning error with a walkoff sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 14th that secured a 5-4 victory for the home team.

At over five hours, it was the longest opening game in World Series history.

This recap didn’t even mention Royals starter Edinson Volquez, who lost his father to heart disease on Tuesday morning and turned in six solid innings against the Mets on Tuesday night. Chris Young was scheduled to start Game 4 but had to be used in relief in Game 1, so Volquez will probably get the call again on Saturday night in New York.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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