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KANSAS CITY, MO – It was a Cinderella year for the Kansas City Royals. An improbable 8-0 postseason start, much of it on the clutch power-hitting heroics of Greek-American Mike Moustakas, thrust them into the World Series against the vaunted veteran San Francisco Giants.

Losing the first game at home, the Royals evened things up in Game 2 as the Series headed West. Now with home field advantage, the Giants could have wrapped things up in Frisco by Sunday night, but it was not to be.

After edging their hosts 3-2 in Game 3, the Royals fell victims to the Giants’ bats in Game 4, and the masterful pitching of Madison Bumgarner in Game 5. With their backs to the wall if not their tails between their legs, they flew back to Kansas City, determined not to lose the championship on their home turf.

A resounding 10-0 blowout – clearly the most decisive game of the Series – was highlighted by Moustakas bat: he drove in the game’s first, and last runs. First, with a double, then with a home run. The moose antlers, a hometown prop in Moustakas’ honor – his nickname is “Moose” – could be spotted throughout Kauffman Stadium. It all boiled down to Game 7. Six games, three wins apiece, 25 total runs for the Royals, 27 for the Giants. It doesn’t get more evenly-matched than that.

In the final game, undaunted by the 10-0 mauling the night before, the Giants struck first, scoring two runs in the top of the second inning. Kansas City answered back with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning, and that’s the way it stayed until the Giants scored again in the fourth to jump ahead 3-2. The rest was pitching. More specifically, Madison Bumgarner. Amazingly, he pitched five scoreless innings on just two days’ rest to keep the Royals at bay. Things almost got out of hand in the bottom of the ninth, as an fielding flop saw a runner on third with two outs, and Moustakas on deck.  What a showdown that would have been: Bumgarner v. Moustakas. But it was not to be – as Bumgarner got Salvador Perez to pop up in foul territory and the ballgame was over. Needless to say, Bumgarner was named Series MVP.

The Giants added to their glory, winning their third World Series championship in five years, and eighth overall. The first five came when the team played in New York City at the Polo Grounds.

The Royals, meanwhile, will have to wait at least another year to win what would be their second championship ever. They won it all in 1985, on the back of another third baseman (that is Moustakas’ position) – a fellow who is a legend in Kansas City – George Brett.

Now the team’s Vice President of Baseball Operations, Brett has been supportive of Moustakas during the latter’s hitting slumps, often recalling his early days before he blossomed into one of the game’s greatest hitters. Graciously, he said “Moustakas isn’t the first young, struggling, Royals third baseman.”

But Moustakas has a great deal to be proud of this season, including four home runs and five RBIs against the California Angels and Baltimore Orioles, helping his team get to the World Series.

They may not have won it all this time, but as the Royals set to defend their American League Championship, all bets are on the moose calls and moose antlers being abound.

The post Moosed Opportunity: Bumgarner too Much for Moustakas and the Royals appeared first on The National Herald.

Source: The National Herald
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