KANSAS CITY -- This was a physical error from a two-time Gold Glove third baseman -- nothing more. Alcides Escobar hit a ball toward third base, David Wright attempted to corral it between bounces and miscalculated, recovering only in enough time to rush a wide throw to first. It happens. It was a mistake. Wright readily admits that.
What made this error so vexing for Wright and the Mets was simply the stage: Escobar was leading off the 14th inning of World Series Game 1, in front of 40,320 fans at Kauffman Stadium. Moments later, he was racing home on an Eric Hosmer sacrifice fly that sunk the Mets to a 5-4 loss and a 1-0 Series hole. In the span of those moments, seven mostly solid innings of bullpen work unraveled.
Wright shrugged. "These are the types of hurdles we're going to have to clear if we expect to win this thing," he said.
Like many of his teammates, Wright mostly bemoaned the fact that the Mets were in the 14th to begin with, suffering a rare Jeurys Familia blown save five innings earlier to reach that point. Alex Gordon's homer off Familia aside, New York's bullpen was brilliant. Addison Reed pitched a scoreless inning. Tyler Clippard contributed two outs. On his 29th birthday, starter-turned-reliever Jon Niese gave the Mets a pair of near-perfect innings, before Bartolo Colon pitched out of trouble in both the 12th and 13th.
But, as Niese said, the Mets did not "nail the coffin when we had it closed." Familia's first blown save since July 30 led to extra innings, which in turn led to Escobar opening the 14th with a bouncer to third.
"I just got an in-between hop," Wright said. "The ball kind of came up on me, and I just couldn't put the glove on it. It hit my wrist and then got me in the midsection. I know [Escobar] can run, so I rushed the throw a little bit, and just couldn't get it to him."
The next batter, Ben Zobrist, singled off Colon, allowing Escobar to advance to third, and priming the Royals for Hosmer's sacrifice fly.
"I was just trying to put the ball in play," Escobar said. "I hit the ground ball to third base. He made the error and I was on base. Zobrist got a base hit and I was on third, nobody out. I said, 'We won this game.'"