KANSAS CITY: A five-run outburst that nearly sparked a melee powered Kansas City over the San Francisco Giants 7-2 on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) as the Royals pulled level in the 110th World Series.
By breaking open an even game in the sixth inning, the Royals deadlocked Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven final at 1-1 as the scene shifts to San Francisco for games three through five on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
A two-run double by Salvador Perez followed by a two-run homer from Omar Infante off Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland in the sixth had the intense rookie hurler yelling at Perez as players from both teams walked out of the dugout, poised in case a confrontation broke out.
“I think it was just frustration on his part,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s an intense kid and it got away from him a little bit.”
Cooler heads prevailed as Giants catcher Buster Posey helped calm Strickland while Perez, who waited at home plate to congratulate Venezuelan compatriot Infante on his first career playoff homer after 145 at bats, shrugged off Strickland’s angry screams and walked away.
“I don’t know what happened with that guy,” Perez said. “But that’s the last thing. We don’t want a fight on the field. I’m not that kind of player.”
Infante’s blast over the left-field fence ended the second-longest active major league playoff homer drought 44 at-bats shy of St. Louis outfielder Jon Jay’s current futility mark.
Strickland, a 26-year-old right-hander promoted from the developmental ranks last month, surrendered his fifth homer of the 2014 playoffs, matching Milwaukee’s Chris Narvesson in 2011 for the most by any reliever in a single playoff campaign.
After dropping the opener 7-1, the Royals knew a game two home triumph was vital. Teams losing the first two games have lost the World Series 42 of 53 times, including nine in a row and 15 of the past 16 such situations.
The Giants seek their third championship in five seasons after having snapped a 56-year drought in 2010 while the Royals are in the playoffs for the first time since winning their only World Series crown in 1985.