Ned Yost’s secret hope has come true.
Game seven of the World Series between the Royals and Giants has arrived.
In San Francisco, Yost ended a news conference with this answer when asked about the series momentum: “Oh, man, somewhere inside of me secretly I had hoped it would seven games for the excitement and thrill of it. Sure looks that way.”
The bizarre thing was Yost said this after game four, with the series tied. The Royals could have won twice and avoided a game seven. Perhaps Yost expressed this knowing how difficult it would be to defeat Giants ace Madison Bumgarner the next day.
It was. Bumgarner won, but the Royals captured game six at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday to bring baseball to its ultimate conclusion.
They don’t happen often. This will be the 34th game seven since the World Series moved to its current 2-3-2 format in 1924, and the home team is 18-15 in those games.
But like the game-six trend that favored home teams (13 home teams had won the previous 16 game sixes), the seventh game also has smiled on the home team.
They’re riding a nine-game winning streak, and the run includes the 1985 Royals, who battled back from a 3-1 deficit to the Cardinals to claim the franchise’s only crown.
In the last World Series to go seven games, the Cardinals overcame a 3-2 deficit to beat the Rangers twice in 2011.
Before then, Angels defeated the Giants in 2002 and the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in 2001. The home team trailed 3-2 in both series.
Some winner-take-all games have provided baseball’s most memorable moments. The Diamondbacks’ Luis Gonzalez’s dropping a game-winning RBI single off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in 2001, and Edgar Renteria’s single that helped the Marlins beat the Indians and end the 11-inning marathon are among the most recent.
Through the years, game sevens have produced stuff of legends, on the mound and at the plate.
The remarkable durability of the the Twins’ Jack Morris, whose 126-pitch, 10-inning shutout of the Braves in 1991, remains the gold standard of game-seven starts.
The Tigers’ Mickey Lolich in 1968 and the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson in three of his World Series appearances were the definition of workhorses. Both pitched complete games in nearly all of their postseason appearances.
The Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski remains the only player to end a World Series seventh game with a home run when he beat the Yankees in 1960.
Enos “Country” Slaughter’s mad dash from first on Harry Walker’s double to give the Cardinals the late lead against the Red Sox in 1946, and the Cards’ Pepper Martin’s running catch that saved two runs to end the 1931 Series have been part of the game’s lore.
Because Yost got his wish, perhaps tonight’s game will add to the list of cherished moments.
WORLD SERIES GAME SEVENS
Senators, 4-3, 12 innings
Johnson gets victory pitching final three in relief
Pirates first to come back down 3-1 in series
Ruth caught stealing for final out
Pepper Martin stars in Connie Macks’ last Series
Dizzy won game seven, he and brother Paul won all four
Reds rally with two in seventh
Cubs’ last Series appearance
Slaughter scores from first on Walker’s double
Dodgers couldn’t build on game six catch by Gionfriddo
Yanks win final two at Ebbets
Podres ends years of Brooklyn frustration vs. Yanks
No perfecto game like Larsen in game three, but Kucks blanks Bums
Burdette blanks Yanks for Milwaukee’s only championship
Yanks complete comeback from 3-1 down
Mazeroski homer ends wildest game seven
McCovey liner this close to game-winner
Amazing Gibson wins first of two MVPs
Nine career WS starts, nine complete games for Gibson
Lolich throws complete game on two days rest
Clemente homer caps great series
Series hero Tenace drives in two
A’s take second straight game seven
Fisk homer in game six couldn’t stop Reds
Stargell put Pirates on his back
Brewers went ahead, Cards answered in sixth inning
After game six rally, Royals couldn’t be stopped
Mets seemed destined after Buckner error
Cards couldn’t hold early lead
Twins, 1-0, 10 innings
Morris throws 10 shutout innings
Marlins, 3-2, 11 innings
High drama ends with Renteria’s RBI single
Gonzalez gets enough of Rivera to doink winning hit
Rally monkey pulled Angels through in game six
Anti-climatic after Freese’s game six heroics