Royals beat Mets, take first baseball World Series title in 30 years

Jim Slater

New York (AFP) - Sparked by the most amazing rally in a comeback-filled playoff run, the Kansas City Royals captured their first World Series title in 30 years by defeating the New York Mets 7-2 in 12 innings.

The Royals took Major League Baseball's best-of-seven championship final four games to one after scoring twice in the ninth inning to equalize and break open the contest with five runs in the last inning.

"We never quit. We never put our heads down," said Royals catcher Salvador Perez, the World Series Most Valuable Player. "We never think 'OK, the game is over.' No. We always compete to the last out. And that's what we did tonight."

The Royals seized their first crown since 1985 with a record eighth come-from-behind playoff victory, including all four of their World Series triumphs. Seven of them were multi-run rallies to win.

"Our guys, you never count them out," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "It's just a team that never quits, never panics. They just find ways to win."

Lorenzo Cain scored the Royals' first run in the crucial ninth inning and smacked a three-run double in the 12th that sealed New York's fate, ending the Mets' dream of their first World Series title since 1986.

"We're real disappointed," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I told the guys this is the time to enjoy it and be proud of your accomplishment, but when you get beat at the end of the season, it's not fun."

Inspired by a seven-game loss to San Francisco in last year's World Series, the Royals became the first team since the 1989 Oakland A's to win the World Series a year after losing it. They are the first team since the 1961 New York Yankees to lose in a seventh game and win the title the next year.

"I already forget about last year," Perez said. "I'll just enjoy the moment now. In 2015 Kansas City is number one. Who cares about what happened last year?"

- On a knife's edge -

Deadlocked 2-2 after nine innings, the game went into the 12th with the title poised on a knife's edge.

Perez singled down the right-field line off Mets reliever Addison Reed to open the 12th. Pinch-runner Jerrod Dyson replaced Perez, promptly stole second base and took third when Eric Gordon grounded out to first.

Pinch-hitter Christian Colon then smacked a single to left field to score Dyson and give Kansas City their first lead at 3-2.

Brazilian Paulo Orlando then reached on a fielder's choice that advanced Colon on an error by Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy.

Alcides Escobar then stretched his playoff hit streak to 15 games with a run-scoring double to left and Ben Zobrist was intentionally walked to load the bases, setting the stage for Cain's double to left center field to clear the bases and produce the final margin.

"There was no doubt in my mind they were going to get back and finish the deal this time," Yost said.

New York's Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff home run in the first inning and scored again after walking in the fourth to give the Mets a 2-0 advantage.

Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey, a 26-year-old right-hander, baffled the Royals for eight shutout innings, striking out nine while scattering four hits and two walks as only one runner got past first base.

- Comeback kings -

But in the ninth inning, the Royals added to their legend as comeback kings as Cain opened the ninth with a walk and stole second base, allowing him to race home on Eric Hosmer's double to left field and cut the Mets' lead to 2-1.

That prompted Collins to remove Harvey in favor of Dominican closing relief ace Jeurys Familia, who promptly surrendered a ground out to first by Mike Moustakas that advanced Hosmer to third base.

"It's my fault," Collins said of staying with Harvey into the ninth when he could have brought in Familia earlier.

"I've got one of the greatest closers in baseball. I got him in the game a little late. That's inexcusable for me."

Perez then grounded out but Hosmer raced home and scored the tying run as an errant desperation throw home by Lucas Duda was way off target.

"A good throw he's out," Collins said. "Luke has got a great arm and threw the ball wide."

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