History might say the Giants are at a disadvantage today. Each of the last nine times the World Series has gone to a Game 7, the home team has emerged the winner. The last road team to win under such circumstances, which the Giants now face in Kansas City following their 10-0 loss to the Royals on Tuesday evening, was the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979.
Given the negative connotations, it would not be surprising to hear the Giants write that history off as meaningless, say it has no bearing on the task they face. But manager Bruce Bochy, sitting in the Kauffman Stadium interview room Tuesday night, said he intended to take a different tack.
“My answer to that is tell these guys if they’re going against the odds, because we’ve done that before,” Bochy said. “You go back to ’12, and look at this postseason, I think a lot of people had us getting beat in the first and second round.
“This club’s so resilient. They’re so tough. They’ll put this behind them. It’s nice to know that you’ve done it – you’ve come back against the odds, and you can do it again.”
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The Giants will need to call upon that resiliency one more time after they were thoroughly beaten Tuesday by a Royals team fighting to keep its own improbable season alive. An imploring crowd reached a fever pitch during the Royals’ seven-run second inning and hardly quieted the rest of the night as right-hander Yordano Ventura stymied a Giants lineup that had scored 11 runs on 16 hits just three days before.
This time, it was the Royals’ offense that broke out, knocking right-hander Jake Peavy out of the pivotal inning in which they sent 11 men to the plate and amassed seven runs on eight hits. It matched the most runs the Giants have allowed in a postseason inning in franchise history, and it left an exasperated Peavy afterward trying to explain how an outing in which he felt he had good stuff and command had ended so poorly.
Alex Gordon lofted a lead-off single to center field, Salvador Perez lined a single over the leap of second baseman Joe Panik and Mike Moustakas broke his bat swinging at a cutter inside, but hit a chopper just inside the first-base bag for a double that scored Gordon.
“That ball had stopped rolling by the time (right fielder Hunter Pence) picked it up,” Peavy said, shaking his head. “You break a guy’s bat, you got him to hit the ball off the part of the bat you’re intending.”
Peavy struck out Omar Infante and got Alcides Escobar to hit a slow grounder to first baseman Brandon Belt. But in charging the ball and looking Perez back to third base, Belt was caught in an awkward position and his lunge to tag Escobar speeding up the first-base line missed. Panik had come to cover the bag, but Belt said afterward he didn’t anticipate Panik being there.
“That one has never happened before,” Belt said of the angles on the play. “I had to make a split-second decision, I had to either go for him or look behind me and see if someone was covering the base. I decided to go for him myself.”
That left the bases loaded with one out, and the Royals made it hurt with four consecutive hits. Nori Aoki fouled off four pitches before shooting a single to left field on the seventh pitch of his at-bat, scoring one run and ending Peavy’s night after 42 pitches.
“I don’t know how many times in a 13-year career you break three bats in an inning and don’t get even an out on any of them,” Peavy said. “I don’t know much we would do different. Threw the ball where we wanted to throw it. It was just a frustrating inning.
Yusmeiro Petit entered and surrendered a two-run single to Lorenzo Cain and a two-run double by Eric Hosmer on a ball that took one bounce off the hard dirt around home plate and carried over the head of shortstop Brandon Crawford. Billy Butler followed with a double into the right-center field gap that made the score 7-0.
The Giants had a chance to take some momentum back in the third inning, when Ventura walked three straight batters to load the bases with one out. But Buster Posey hit a chopper to Escobar at shortstop for an inning-ending double play. And the Giants did not put another runner in scoring position until there were two outs in the seventh.
Ventura, the 23-year-old right-hander, held the Giants to three hits in seven innings and seemed to embrace the drama of the moment. Ventura wore a handwritten message on his cap honoring his friend Oscar Taveras, the Cardinals outfielder who died in a car crash Sunday, and afterward said he’d dedicated his outing to Taveras.