The Royals captured the attention of the nation over the last month with their speed, highlight-reel defense and a three-headed monster of relief pitchers.
However, none of those three key elements that helped them win the first eight games of their postseason were on display Tuesday night.
As a result they lost game one of the World Series 7-1 to the San Francisco Giants in front of 40,459 fans at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals managed just three hits and had six total base runners in seven innings against Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, who was awarded the win. They finished with four hits and four left on base with a zero-for-three performance with runners in scoring position.
The limited base runners also meant that the Royals did not attempt a steal in the game despite leading the majors with 153 during the season. They had 13 so far in the postseason.
“It disrupts a lot of things when you don’t get on base,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The old adage is, ‘You can’t steal first base’ and Bumgarner did a great job of keeping us off the bases. When you do that we can’t utilize our speed.”
The defense, which had been dazzling in the two previous series, also struggled. That was highlighted by right fielder Nori Aoki misplaying Joe Panik’s RBI triple in the seventh inning. It produced the Giants’ sixth run. Panik scored later in the inning with a single from Pablo Sandoval.
Ultimately, the large deficit also meant that the Giants never had to face relievers Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. Together they were the first bullpen trio to each record an ERA lower than 1.50 in at least 60 appearances. They have worked 252/3 innings in the postseason with a 1.05 ERA and 30 strikeouts.