Mets explode for four runs in the sixth, extend Game 3 lead over the Royals

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The Mets exploded for four runs in the bottom of the sixth against the Royals’ bullpen, padding their lead to six runs at 9-3. Lefty Franklin Morales started the inning for the Royals, but got into trouble, allowing a one-out single to Juan Lagares, hitting Wilmer Flores with a pitch, and serving up a pinch-hit RBI single to Juan Uribe.

The bleeding continued when Morales hesitated on a Curtis Granderson comebacker to the mound, making a terrible throw to second base after contemplating the possibility that Flores would come home. Instead of recording the second out, the bases were loaded with one out for David Wright.

Manager Ned Yost replaced the wild Morales with right-hander Kelvin Herrera, but David Wright — who had smacked a two-run home run in the first inning — drove a single to center field to plate two more runs. Herrera then walked Daniel Murphy to re-load the bases for Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes lifted a fly ball to medium-deep left field, which gave Granderson the opportunity to score easily. The inning finally came to a close when Herrera struck out Lucas Duda looking.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard settled down after allowing three runs to the Royals in the first two innings. He retired 12 batters in a row prior to a Mike Moustakas infield single in the top half of the sixth. Reliever Addison Reed has taken the hill to begin the seventh for the Mets.

It’s looking like the Mets will ensure that the World Series goes at least five games.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.