They say that cockroaches could survive a nuclear winter. Perhaps the Royals could, too. Down 2-0 in the top of the ninth inning against a seemingly-unhittable Matt Harvey, the Royals staged a rally to tie the game and put themselves in a great position to win the World Series.
Harvey had, to that point, thrown eight shutout innings. Pitching coach Dan Warthen informed the pitcher in the bottom of the eighth, when the Mets were batting, that he wouldn’t be returning to the mound for the ninth. A visibly upset Harvey stomped over to manager Terry Collins and pleaded his case. To a cheering crowd at Citi Field, Harvey indeed took the ball to start the ninth inning.
The fairy tale didn’t have the storybook ending. Harvey issued a leadoff walk to Lorenzo Cain, who promptly stole second base with ease. Eric Hosmer then drilled a line drive double over the head of left fielder Michael Conforto, allowing Cain to score the Royals’ first run. That, naturally, prompted Collins to emerge from the dugout and bring in closer Jeurys Familia as was the original plan.
Familia got Mike Moustakas to ground out, but it was to the right side, which moved Hosmer to third base. Salvador Perez appeared to give the Mets a gift, hitting a weak grounder to third base. Because the infield was drawn in, David Wright and shortstop Wilmer Flores were close together. There was a bit of miscommunication on the play. Flores could have fielded it with better position, but Wright got it and did a crow-hop throw to first base. Hosmer took advantage, motoring home. First baseman Lucas Duda made a wide throw to catcher Travis d'Arnaud, and so Hosmer scored the tying run. With a better throw, he makes the final out of Game 5.
Though the blown save in Game 5 wasn’t really his fault, Familia got a blown save. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Familia is the first reliever with three blown saves in one post-season since Yankees legend Mariano Rivera in 2004.
The Mets went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth, so Game 5 is headed to extras. In order to stay alive, the Mets need to pull this one out.