Game 1: Cardinals 3 – Royals 1
Last night saw the first skirmish of a baseball battle for I-70 supremacy; the all-Missouri World Series. The very familiar red of the St. Louis Cardinals clashed with the bright blue of the Kansas City Royals in game 1 of a series that many in the sporting world have already handed to the easternmost team. The Cardinals came into Royals Stadium last night as the odds on favorites. Their 101-61 season record has them 10 games ahead of the Royals. Yet, the Royals come into the Series off of one of the most incredible comebacks in MLB postseason history; besting the Blue Jays in seven games after being down 3-1. The Royals have been full of that kind of magic since they were down 7.5 games to Seattle as late as July before rallying to steal their division by just 1 game. However, those late arriving heroics can only last so long, and last night in Kansas City, the Royals looked fledgling as they dropped the game 3-1.
Kansas City scored the first run of the game in the 2nd inning with a walk and back to back singles off of Tudor. The Royals smelled blood and dove headfirst into the fray by trying to have Daryl Motley steal home. He was caught and Danny Jackson later struck out to blow the Royals chance at an early rally. The anemic Royals offense would go on to miss opportunities to bring in runs all evening long; leaving 8 runners on base, 4 of them in scoring position. The Cardinals put together 3 runs thanks to RBIs by stars Willie McGee, Jack Clark, and mid-season acquisition Cesar Cedeno.
In a series that is billed to be all about the pitchers, the Cardinals ace, John Tudor was the better arm last night. Danny Jackson gives way to Charlie Leibrant this afternoon. It has only been 4 days since Leibrandt took the mound and won the pennant for his men in blue. The Cardinals will be sending out the young righty, Danny Cox. They also bring the better bats on paper. The Royals are not in a do-or-die situation yet, but the small ball touting team needs to get the offense going soon, if they have any hopes of continuing their storied run.
Game 2: Cardinals 4 – Royals 2
The Cardinals have brought their own brand of magic to Kansas City in a comeback for the ages! The Royals were poised to even the series this afternoon. “Poised,” in this case, meaning they were just one out, just one pitch away from winning 2-0. Instead, Charlie Leibrandt gave up four runs in the 9th inning of what had been a spectacular performance to that point. The Cardinals took the game 4-2, scoring all of their runs in the 9th inning with 2 outs against them.
The Royals once again took an early lead. A single by Wilson and back-to-back doubles by George Brett and Frank White put them up 2-0. Leibrandt was rolling going into the final inning with 6 strikeouts, 2 hits, and 1 walk on his sheet. Then a red hell broke loose in Royals Stadium. Leibrandt gave up a leadoff double to Willie McGee. The veteran lefty settled down and induced outs from Ozzie Smith and Tom Herr. He could not do the same against Jack Clark who knocked a single to left; deep enough for the speedy McGee to score. Landrum followed with a double. To bring the force back into play, Leibrandt intentionally walked Cedeno. The strategy did not pay off as Terry Pendleton belted a Leibrandt fastball to left field. Dan Quisenberry could only look on from the bullpen as this all unfolded. The Royals closer, a Cy Young candidate, finally came into the game after the lead had already been blown. With another intentional walk and a flyball, Quisenberry ended the inning. The Royals, beaten down by the top of the inning, showed no fight in the bottom. They did not answer, and the Cardinals now lead the series 2-0.
Game 3: Royals 6 – Cardinals 1
The series returned to Busch last night, but a shorter drive home was about the only thing the Cardinals had to be happy about after the game. Royals ace, Brett Saberhagen, dominated the Redbirds from beginning to end. Saberhagen, the favorite for the AL Cy Young, pitched a complete game, struck out 8, walked 1, and only allowed 1 run in the Royals 6-1 victory over St. Louis. Many wondered if the Royals would be able to bounce back from the devastating game 2 loss. The late game comeback victory that St. Louis rolled out on Sunday is the kind of game that can swing momentum sharply enough to effectively end a series. Kansas City fans and players were counting on a big game from Saberhagen to keep them in it. They got that big game and more. The Royals bats finally woke up.
5 Royals had multi-hit games against a Cardinals assembly of Joaquin Andujar and 3 relievers. Andujar only allowed 2 runs, but ran into trouble early when the Royals loaded the bases in the 3rd. They failed to score that inning, leaving many to wonder if their offensive woes were destined to continue. It only took 1 inning to answer that worry. A walk to Sundberg, single by Balboni, and a sacrifice bunt by Saberhagen set the stage for the breakout in the 4th inning. Then came Lonnie Smith to face the team that traded him earlier in the year. Smith knocked a double to right, scoring the first 2 runs of the game. That would be all Saberhagen needed for the win, but the Royals went on to add 4 more runs–perhaps just to make sure no 9th inning Cardinals heroics were possible this time around. The Cardinals may have jumped out to a 2 game lead in KC, but this scrappy Royals club is not going to go quietly. They send Bud Black to the mound to face John Tudor tomorrow evening. Tudor will be throwing on short rest, and the Royals have some momentum going their way now. We may just have ourselves a series.
Game 4: Royals 0 – Cardinals 3
The Cardinals are just one game away from the franchise’s 10th World Series championship. Whatever offense the Royals discovered in game 3 was done away with by John Tudor’s brilliant performance last night. Tudor, on 4 days rest threw a complete game shutout. The Cardinals pitcher, who is having one of the best seasons in Cardinals history, fanned 8 and walked just 1. Only Lynn Jones in a late pinch hitting situation was able to get anything more than a single off of Tudor. On the other side of the innings, the Cardinals took lefty, Bud Black to task earning 3 runs in just 5 innings. Solo shots by Willie McGee and Tito Landrum accounted for 2 of the 3. Landrum has been an unsung hero of this series so far. The regular bench player got his chance earlier in the postseason when a freak tarp roller accident put speedy rookie Vince Coleman out of commission. Landrum has filled in nicely hitting 6 for 15 with 2 doubles and a home run so far. He has also scored 3 runs for the Cardinals in the first 4 games of this series. He may not steal 110 bases a season like Coleman, but he has definitely played a major role in putting the Cardinals in position to take home the Series.
Game 5 will be a matchup between Danny Jackson and Bob Forsch. Jackson, the loser of game 1 is in his first full season as a starter for Kansas City. He will be leading his team’s clawing for survival in a do-or-die game while the veteran Forsch has the chance to win a ring in front of his hometown fans. A 3-1 series lead is nearly impossible to come back from, but only the most reckless of gamblers would forget that the Royals have already overcome just such odds this postseason. Do they have another trick up their blue sleeves?
Game 5: Royals 6 – Cardinals 1
The World Series will continue for another day. The Cardinals and Royals are headed back to Kansas City after a convincing 6-1 victory by the boys in blue. Staring the end of their season straight in the face, the Royals took an early lead and rolled to a victory. Whitey Herzog’s Cardinals did not take it easy, pulling out every stop they could to try and win it all at home. Herzog removed starter Bob Forsch in the 2nd inning after he gave up his 4th run of the game thanks to a Willie Wilson triple. The Cardinals would hand the ball to 5 pitchers over the course of the game who mostly held the Royals in check, but the St. Louis offense was never able to overcome the deficit thanks to a Danny Jackson stunner.
Jackson pitched a complete game–the second by a Royals starter this series. Jackson was the game 5 starter against the Blue Jays in the ALCS. The Royals were down 3 games to 1 in that series too. At only 23 years old, Jackson is young, but he is already looking like a poised veteran capable of stopping a skid when the only other option is elimination. The Royals are still alive thanks in no small part to him. The Cardinals still hold the advantage going back to Royals Stadium, but despite their series lead, they are only batting .196 against the top-tier pitching of Kansas City through 5 games. The teams will both have a day off to get ready for Saturday’s game 6. It promises to be a can’t miss thriller.
Game 6: Cardinals 1 – Royals 2
Mistakes, heroics, and 9 innings of the finest sort of baseball drama from everybody involved; including the umpires. The Royals have come back from the brink of defeat in the series by coming back from the brink of defeat in last night’s game. The last half of the 9th inning will go down in the history books as one of the most intense and incredible series of events in any World Series. We’ll be seeing replays for many years to come, but the game story doesn’t start there. This game was a pitcher’s duel between Charlie Leibrandt and Danny Cox at the beginning. The Royals starter came into this game looking for a chance at redemption for his heartbreaking game 2 loss. He was fantastic. The Cardinals didn’t even get their first baserunner until the 6th inning. Danny Cox, on the Cardinals mound, pitched 7 scoreless innings and fanned 5. These two teams came into this series noted mostly for their pitching and smart, small ball offensive style. In both aspects, this game lived up to that billing. Until the 8th.
Leibrandt finally began to look human in the 8th inning, surrendering 2 hits, a pair of walks, and the game’s first run before being relieved by Quisenberry. The Royals would not answer in the bottom of the 8th and the Cardinals added no more in the 9th against the Kansas City star closer. Whitey Herzog then brought in his own stud reliever to finish off the Royals once and for all. Todd Worrell faced Jorge Orta first. Orta slapped a ball in the infield toward Clark at first, Worrell covered, Clark tossed the ball to him, Orta flailed and stretched wildly, his helmet flew off, the ball hit the glove, the umpire swiped his arms and shouted, “Safe!” And then a quartet of protesting Cardinals were almost immediately joined by an apoplectic Herzog. Replays showed that Orta was out by half a step. No question. But there he was, the tying run safe on first in the bottom of the 9th. The umpires had already made their presence known in an ugly way earlier in the game when Frank White was called out stealing second, when he should have been clearly safe. Sheridan followed with a single that would have scored a Royals run. But that was all forgotten by the 9th inning, and probably won’t be oft-mentioned in the many retellings to come.
With Orta on first, Worrell was visibly shaken and gave up a quick single to Balboni. The winning run was on first and there were no outs. Sundburg tried to play the Royals small ball style and showed bunt on 5 straight pitches. He finally laid one down on the turf, but Worrell snatched it up and threw a laser to third to force out the lead runner, Orta. That sac bunt gone wrong was quickly negated by another mistake when Cardinals catcher, Porter, let a pitch get by him. The runners advanced and Herzog was forced to call for an intentional walk to Hal McRae. With the bases loaded and one out, Worrell looked in at the pinch hitting Dane Iorg. It took just 2 pitches for Iorg to finish what Orta and 1B umpire Don Denkinger had started that inning. He blooped a single to right, high and slow. Around came the tying and then the winning run. Out came every Royal from the dugout to celebrate in the midst of a thunderous, deafening crowd. Denkinger mentioned the noise Royals Stadium was capable of after the game, blaming it for his not hearing the ball hit Clark’s glove on the missed call. The Royals and their fans are a crazy and exciting bunch, and they are back alive once again. They have their game 7. And now the Cardinals and Royals face each other on equal footing for the trophy in one of the most exhilarating World Series in recent memory.
Game 7: Cardinals 0 – Royals 11
The Kansas City Royals are your 1985 World Series champions. And did they ever go out with a statement. Bret Saberhagen pitched his second complete game of the series and shutout the Cardinals in an 11-0 rout. Motley hit the lone home run of the game; just the 4th total by either team in this series. The rest of the Royals many runs were scored by a battery of singles, bunts, and stolen bases. The Cardinals tried mightily to stay alive. Herzog sent 7 different pitchers to the mound. The Royals only needed Saberhagen this game, and they only used 7 pitchers total in this whole series. They battled back just like they did in the ALCS, and they brought Kansas City its first major sports championship.
The Cardinals offense was non-existent in game 7. They were unspectacular all series long, owing mostly to the already mentioned Royals pitching staff. The series was theirs to win, and they let it get away from them. Whitey Herzog and his staff will have a lot of thinking to do about how this lineup was built. But today is a day to celebrate Kansas City, Dick Howser, John Scheurholz, and the team they put together. The Royals are the kings of baseball this year, and they have a squad capable of many returns. They gave viewers a heart-poundingly entertaining series and no doubt won the hearts of many fans to their side. A fine complement to bring alongside the Commissioner’s Trophy to the streets of Kansas City.