Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Observant coach makes a winning call

The Royals’ Lorenzo Cain bounces up after scoring the eventual winner Friday, dashing from first base on Eric Hosmer’s single to rightfield.

Associated Press

The Royals’ Lorenzo Cain bounces up after scoring the eventual winner Friday, dashing from first base on Eric Hosmer’s single to rightfield.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Eric Hosmer laced a single down the rightfield line Friday night, Lorenzo Cain came flying around second as if late for a job interview. A trip to the World Series was hanging in the balance. It was the moment Mike Jirschele had been waiting for.

Maybe not as long as everyone in this once-again baseball-crazed city thought — not back to Game 7 of the World Series last October when Jirschele, the Royals' third-base coach, threw up a stop sign for Alex Gordon, who stayed anchored at third base as Madison Bumgarner got the final out and the Giants became World Series champions.

But Jirschele had waited long enough.

Having spent 13 years playing in the minors and 22 coaching there before getting to the majors last season, Jirschele understood the value of patience. So when Jirschele observed Jose Bautista, Toronto's strong-armed rightfielder, earlier in the series turn his back to home plate as he wheeled around to throw to second base, he took note.

On that play, it was Kendrys Morales, the DH, running.

There was no need then to make a reckless decision, the same as last October when sending Gordon might have rescued the Royals — but more than likely would have gotten him thrown out by 20 feet.

With Cain in the equation, though, the calculation went from rash to rational.

"We were waiting for that situation where a ball hit down the rightfield line, if I have speed coming into third and I see Bautista come up and make that long throw to second, I'm going to go ahead and wheel him," Jirschele said.

When Cain saw Jirschele furiously windmilling his right arm, his eyes widened and his stride lengthened.

"When I saw him sending me, I was definitely shocked," Cain said. "But I trust him to the fullest."

By the time shortstop Troy Tulowitzki gathered the throw and, with a poor grip, skidded his throw home, there was no chance of getting Cain, who slid across home plate, popping up with what would become the winning run in the 4-3 Royals win that put them back in the World Series.

"It was going to have to be a perfect throw," Jirschele said.

The play was somewhat reminiscent of the 1946 World Series, which the Cardinals won when Enos Slaughter scored from first in Game 7 on a hit-and-run single that Red Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky hesitated for an instant to throw home.

Cain's daring dash and Jirschele's enterprising decision were fitting touchstones for the Royals on their return to the World Series. The team remained largely intact from last season, though the handful of newcomers have loomed large in the playoffs. Former Ray Ben Zobrist hit a solo homer Friday and Johnny Cueto, also acquired at the end of July, was superb in the Division Series winner-take-all Game 5 victory over Houston. Morales has four homers and 10 RBIs during the playoffs.

"We knew it was going to be hard coming into the year," Cain said. "It left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, losing the World Series the way we did. But we stuck together and we're back where we want to be."

METS SET ROTATION: Right-hander Matt Harvey will pitch the World Series opener at Kansas City, followed by right-hander Jacob deGrom in Game 2 then rookie right-hander Noah Syndergaard and left-hander Steven Matz in New York.

World Series

Mets vs. Royals

(TV: All games Ch. 13)

Tuesday: at Kansas City, 8

Wednesday: at Kansas City, 8

Friday: at New York, 8

Saturday: at New York, 8

Nov. 1: at New York, 8 *

Nov. 3: at Kansas City, 8 *

Nov. 4: at Kansas City, 8 *

* If necessary

Observant coach makes a winning call 10/24/15 [Last modified: Saturday, October 24, 2015 8:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  2. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)
  3. For starters: Rays at Rangers, with Erasmo on the mound again

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 6:36: Cash said the Rays will "be smart" in deciding whether to use Farquhar, Hunter and Colome tonight, so it could be a closing combo of the Blaze Brothers, Alvarado and Stanek, with Whitley another option. ... Cash said De Leon provides depth for tonight, and mentioned that some of the other relief …

  4. USF baseball heads to Gainesville for regional play

    Sports

    TAMPA — Had USF's players and coaches been less confident in their NCAA Tournament resume, Monday's selection show might have induced fidgeting, perhaps even frustration.

    South Florida coach Mark Kingston looks on during 2017 American Athletic Conference game Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Clearwater during the American Athletic Conference. The Bulls won 7-6.
  5. Rays call up Jose De Leon to add depth to bullpen tonight

    Blogs

    The Rays decided that after playing 15 innings Sunday they could use some depth and length in their bullpen after all and are calling up RHP Jose De Leon from Triple-A.

    The Rays have recalled Jose De Leon from Triple-A Durham.