SAN FRANCISCO – All season long and deep into October, the Kansas City Royals have relied on their winning formula of fundamental baseball: sparkling defense, a stingy bullpen and just enough timely hitting.
It won them a wild card and the American League pennant. And now, it has manager Ned Yost and his team on top in the World Series.
Jeremy Guthrie outpitched fellow Series newcomer Tim Hudson, four Royals relievers combined on four hitless innings and Kansas City beat the San Francisco Giants 3-2 Friday night for a 2-1 lead in the Fall Classic.
“This is the way our games have gone all year,” said Yost, who made several pregame lineup changes that paid off. “I’m getting really good at protecting a one-run lead because a lot of times that’s exactly what we have to deal with.
“But I have the necessary tools to be able to do that. It’s not me doing it. It’s the guys that we put out there that are doing it. We have the type of pitchers in our bullpen that can accomplish that.”
Alex Gordon hit a run-scoring double and Lorenzo Cain made two slick grabs in right field as the Royals backed Guthrie with nifty glove work.
Eric Hosmer had a sixth-inning RBI single on the 11th pitch of his at-bat against lefty Javier Lopez. It was the first World Series hit for Hosmer – on his 25th birthday.
Cain drove in the first run with a groundout after Alcides Escobar’s leadoff double in the first.
Game 4 is tonight, with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong scheduled to pitch for the Giants against lefty Jason Vargas.
Pinch-hitter Michael Morse hit an RBI double with none out in the sixth to chase Guthrie. Yost turned it over to his bullpen, and Kelvin Herrera immediately walked Gregor Blanco.
With the hard-throwing Herrera clocking 99-101 mph on the radar gun, Joe Panik had a tough time attempting a sacrifice bunt. His high-bouncing grounder still did the trick to advance both runners, and Posey pulled the Giants to 3-2 on a groundout.
Then, the Royals shut down San Francisco the rest of the way.
“I don’t know if there’s a better bullpen, because that seventh, eighth and ninth inning, and you get a tough go when you’re facing those guys,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
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