By Bob Elliott
SAN FRANCISCO _ The Kansas City Royals didn’t bunt when they had the chance to with the score tied in the sixth inning.
The San Francisco Giants did try — and messed it up — only to get another chance in the same inning.
So on a roller coast of nights when Giants fans worried in the third inning (down 4-1) that Madison Bumgarner would have to pitch and win Game 5 to stave off elimination in the 110th World Series, an hour later, well OK, maybe it was longer than that Bumgarner in Game 5 — but with the chance to move to within one game of winning the Series.
It might be a tad simplistic to reduce a game with 28 hits, 319 pitches and took four hours and a Giants 11-4 win to two at-bats, but take a breath, give us a second and consider …
Jarrod Dyson led off the sixth with a single against Yusmeiro Petit and Ned Yost send up pinch hitter Nori Aoki, who has 23 successful bunts the last three seasons. Dyson has 100 steals in 118 attempts (84.7%) the previous three seasons.
After a pick off attempt and ball one, Aoki bounced to Brandon Belt who started and finished a 3-5-3 double play.
No bunt to get the lead run into scoring position.
And no steal attempt.
If the Royals score there then Yost can go to his slam-the-door bullpen which closes down things the way Bruce Willis does against the bad guts.
But the lights-out bullpen of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland weren’t entering a tie game.
“My thought was Nori’s been swinging the bat pretty decent for us,” Yost told reporters. “I was going to bunt with the next hitter (Alcides Escobar). I wasn’t going to play for one, I was going for two.
“Nori can hit the ball to all fields, so we were looking for him to do that and he just hit the ball straigh to first and a double play.”
Now, Joaquin Arias came off the bench singling against lefty Brandon Finnegan. With the count 1-1, Gregor Blanco, 14 bunts the last three seasons, fouled off the pitch. Advantage Royals? Not so fast as he slapped a 1-2 single over short, Joe Panik bunted the runners over and after an intensional walk and a out, Pablo Sandoval lined a two-run single and Belt a run-scoring single.
The K.C, relievers were not going to be used in a tie game and they certainly weren’t going to be used down by three.
The Giants had 10 hits and five walks against Jason Frasor, Danny Duffy, Finnegan and Tim Collins.
The Royals bullpen was charged with eight earned runs after not allowing more than five since the 12-inning wild card game against the Oakland A’s going back 11 games.
The Giants were hitless after two innings and then 20 of the next 35 reach base.
Despite the thumping Kansas City is looking at a best-of-three series with the final two game at their home fountains and their stud relievers Herrera, Davis and Holland had the night off.
“Somewhere inside me secretly I had hopes it would go seven games for the excitement,” said Yost. “It sure looks like that way.”
Wet base path: Yost was asked if wetting down the bases falls under the category of gamesmanship?
“I don’t know,” said Yost, “maybe the grounds keeper just was looking at all the Royals fans up in the corner there and forgot. I don’t know.”
Yes that was a shot at the Giants for A) the wet grounds and B) the bad tickets K.C. fans were given.
The Royals didn’t attempt a stolen base in Game 3 despite Alcides Escobar leading off the sixth with a single and Dyson singling with two out in the seventh. Alex Gordon stole in the second inning of Game 4.
In Game: Bustey Posey singled in a run in the third to cut the Royals lead to 4-2 … Three K.C. infield hits and a walk loaded the bases with the a run in and two out in the third. Omar Infante slashed a two-run single and Sal Perez dropped a single into centre for a four-run third. Ryan Vogelsong faced 16 men and retired eight with four scoring … With two out and the bases loaded pitcher Jason Vargas took a 2-2 pitch and head to first. Not so fast said plate ump Ted Barrett, one of the good ones, who called Vargas back. Ball. Now 3-2. Vargas struck out on the next pitch … Giants scored in the first as Blanco worked a lead-off walk, went to second on a ball in the dirt, stole third and came across on a Hunter Pence grounder … With Vogelsong (8-13) starting the Giants became the first team in Series history to start three pitchers with losing records. Jake Peavy (7-13 with the Boston Red Sox and the Giants) worked Game 2 Tim Hudson (9-13) started Game 3.
In again, out again Finnegan: No less than 15 teams, including the Blue Jays (who had two draft picks) passed on TCU Horned Frogs Brandon Finnegan (17th pick over-all) in this June’s draft. We pointed that out in Saturday’s after the Royals lefty had another scoreless outing and heard back from two teams. Both liked Finnegan with their first pick but had concerns about medical issues … He pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings before leaving due to a sore shoulder against Cal State Northridge April 25 and didn’t pitch again until May 9 against Oklahoma (six runs — five earned –on five hits in 3 1/3 innings). When he returned his velocity was down from the start of the season … Looked all better in Game 3 but in Game 4 the Giants scored five times off him as he became the fourth reliever in last 20 years to allow five or more runs in a World Series game, the first since Colorado’s Franklin Morales in 2007.