San Francisco Giants Unlock Secret to Beating Kansas City Royals in Game 1 of World Series


Oct 21, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence hits a two-run home run against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning during game one of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

How do you beat an undefeated team with a an undefeatable bullpen, such as the 2014 postseason Kansas City Royals? As the San Francisco Giants can tell you after Game 1 of the World Series, your best bet is to score early and knockout KC’s starter. The Giants used just such a formula to demolish the Royals, 7-1, on Tuesday night.

San Francisco struck in the first inning on a couple of singles and an RBI double by third baseman Pablo Sandoval, which could have been even bigger had catcher Buster Posey not been thrown out at the plate.

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Up 1-0 with two outs, right fielder Hunter Pence homered to center to essentially put the game out of reach at 3-0.

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner was his usual untouchable self until the seventh inning, when he gave up a solo shot to Royals catcher Salvador Perez for Kansas City’s only run. On the night Bumgarner went seven innings and struck out five while giving up only three hits and a walk.

The Royals never got a chance to flash the best part of their attack, which is the three-headed monster that roams the late innings from their bullpen. Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland are the only trio of teammates ever to each record at least 65 appearances in a season with ERAs below 1.50.

The KC bullpen has often been compared to The Nasty Boys that anchored the back-end of so many wins for the 1990 Cincinnati Reds, and the statistics say that this True Blue group is probably even better.

But in order for the fireballers to take over the game for Kansas City, they actually have to get in the game. Thanks to the Giants’ ability to chase starter James Shields after three innings (seven hits, five runs), the Royals as a team were never in Game 1.

Until Tuesday night, the Royals formula for post-season success had worked to perfection, but the Giants managed to cut into the heart of Kansas City’s Achilles’ Heel. Score early against them, and the Royals can be had.

And they were.