Edinson Volquez took the mound, pitching for himself, the Royals, all of Kansas City and his late father.
He was good enough to keep Kansas City close for six innings, and that was good enough for the Royals, who rallied to beat the New York Mets 7-2 in 12 innings early Monday morning for their first World Series title since 1985.
Volquez hung an 87 mph changeup to Curtis Granderson on his third pitch of the night, an 0-2 offering, then allowed Lucas Duda’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly that gave New York a two-run lead.
Matt Harvey suffocated the Royals’ offense with a four-hit shutout ball through eight innings, but Eric Hosmer hit an RBI double that chased Harvey in the ninth and scored the tying run as first baseman Lucas Duda threw home off line following Salvador Perez’s grounder to third.
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Kansas City’s bullpen held the Mets scoreless over five innings until pinch-hitter Christian Colon singled in the go-ahead run in the five-run 12th.
Volquez was pitching with a heavy heart. His father, 63-year-old Daniel Volquez, died of heart failure hours before his son started the opener Tuesday night. Volquez said he got the news after Kansas City’s 5-4, 14-inning win. He flew home to the Dominican Republic, then rejoined the Royals on Saturday just before the start of Game 4.
He struggled a bit with his control, walking three leadoff batters in six innings and starting just nine of 24 batters for strikes (37.5 percent). That was the lowest percentage of any big league starter this postseason, according to STATS. But Volquez allowed just two hits and two runs, one of them unearned.
Volquez said ahead of the start that he might honor his father by writing his initials on his cap or glove. He could put aside his grief for a few hours and focus on the title he wanted, on the championship his dad wanted him to have.
On the eve of the start, he remembered how his father “bought me my first glove and my first spikes, brought me to the field. He knew that’s what I want to be.”
While he did not get the win, he will get a jewel-filled ring, one that always will remind him of his father.