To say Johnny Cueto stepped up is an understatement. Following a 14-inning win and then turning around on short notice and short sleep for most of the players, Cueto gave the bullpen the night off with his two-hit, three-walk, 122-pitch effort to turn back the New York Mets in a 7-1 final Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals lead 2-0 in the World Series as it shifts to New York for three games starting on Friday night.
Cueto allowed one run and that came in the fourth inning to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Most of that was done by Cueto getting squeezed by the home plate umpire.
Cueto walked Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy around an out. He missed on two borderline calls to Murphy. One pitch tailed back over the inside part of the plate, the other was high and outside for ball four, two pitches that Cueto got in the first at-bat against Murphy to end the first inning. Cueto also got those calls in the sixth when Murphy went down looking for the second time of the game.
Cueto got the ground ball he needed when he got Yeonis Cespedes to hit a hard chopper to Mike Moustakas. Moose stepped on third to force Granderson but his throw to first pulled Eric Hosmer off the bag. Replays from behind the base, appear to show that Hosmer’s foot just came off the base. However, from another up showing Hosmer head on…it looked like his foot was still in contact with the base as the ball went into his glove. Ned Yost didn’t challenge the call.
Next batter Lucas Duda, the only Mets player to get a hit off Cueto, lofted a single into left scoring Murphy.
From that point on, Cueto retired 14 in a row and didn’t allow a baserunner until walked Murphy again with two outs in the ninth.
“That’s what they brought me here for, was to help win a World Series,” Cueto said.
According to ESPN, Cueto gave up the fewest hits in a World Series complete game by an AL pitcher since Boston’s Jim Lonborg’s one-hitter against the Cardinals in 1967.