KANSAS CITY -- As this epic battle exceeded the five-hour mark and entered the record books as the second-longest game in World Series history, Matt Harvey scowled in the visitors' clubhouse, blaming himself for making it all possible.
Harvey pitched the first six innings of the Mets' 5-4, 14-inning loss to the Royals in Game 1 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium, with the right-hander coughing up a two-run lead in his final frame of work as Kansas City rallied to tie the game.
"It's more difficult with the fact that I gave up the two runs to tie the game," Harvey said. "There's a lot of disappointment. Giving up those runs, in my mind -- if I hadn't done that, the game wouldn't have gone as long as it did."
The night started on a disconcerting note for Harvey, who watched Alcides Escobar jump on his first pitch, a 95-mph fastball that was mashed to deep left-center field and fell between left fielder Michael Conforto and center fielder Yoenis Cespedes -- who clearly had some communication issues -- for the first World Series inside-the-park home run since 1929.
Lesson learned. Harvey then opted to rely heavily on his off-speed pitches, throwing just 31 fastballs (39 percent) against the fastball-hungry Kansas City lineup. Thanks to that hearty diet of changeups, curves and sliders, Harvey cruised into the sixth, having retired 11 straight.
"It was just kind of relying on how I felt. I didn't feel all that great, so I had to mix things up," Harvey said. "Obviously from the first pitch on I knew I had to mix things in. You try to keep them off-balance, and unfortunately I wasn't able to do that in the sixth inning."
Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud said Harvey's off-speed-heavy selection was part game plan and part response to what Harvey seemed to be featuring early.
"It was a day that he had better command with his off-speed stuff," d'Arnaud said. "We tried to utilize that today. They were able to put some good swings and find some holes."
Ben Zobrist opened the sixth with a double, Lorenzo Cain singled and Eric Hosmer lifted a sacrifice fly to cut the Mets' lead to a run. The Royals flashed their aggressiveness as Cain swiped second base and raced home on Mike Moustakas' two-out single to center field.
Though Harvey completed the inning, he was hardly satisfied with his line of three runs and five hits in six innings, tossing 53 of 80 pitches for strikes.
"I didn't feel great, I didn't have my good stuff," Harvey said. "If I kept the two runs off the board in the sixth, it might be a different ballgame."
Harvey hadn't seen the mound since Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Cubs, and because of that 10-day layoff, Mets manager Terry Collins was not surprised when Harvey appeared to have some command issues in the first inning.
"I thought when we started the game he wasn't real sharp. His command was off a little bit," Collins said. "I thought he got a little bit better groove. As we've seen, he had to work so hard to get out of the first couple of innings that late in the game his ball started coming up, and that's when I thought it was done."
Collins said Harvey is in line to get the ball for a potential Game 5 at Citi Field on Sunday. In the meantime, Harvey said he has confidence in right-hander Jacob deGrom to turn in the kind of outing in Game 2 on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8 p.m. ET game time) that will allow the Mets to bring a tied Series home.
"We still have our confidence going into tomorrow. We realize this is a seven-game series," Harvey said. "There's no panic whatsoever. We're in a good place. Obviously we have Jacob on the mound tomorrow and we've got to flush this one and start over tomorrow."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.