Dan's Dugout: No Royal Flush in Flushing • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: No Royal Flush in Flushing

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David Wright hit his first postseason homer in Game 3

David Wright hit his first postseason homer in Game 3

FLUSHING, NY – Perhaps The Piano Man brought his magic as well as his music.

Billy Joel sang The National Anthem, old hero Mike Piazza threw out the first ball, Jerry Seinfeld watched, and the New York Mets manhandled the Kansas City Royals after a faltering start Friday night.

New York’s 9-3 win narrowed Kansas City’s advantage to 2-1 in the best-of-seven World Series, the first ever played at seven-year-old CitiField. It also drew the largest crowd in the stadium’s history.

After the Royals nicked Noah Syndergaard for a run in the first, team captain David Wright hit the second postseason home run of his career with a man on base in the home half of the inning.

Kaycee collected four hits and two runs in the second, coaxing warmup action from Jon Niese in the Mets bullpen, but New York answered again in the third with a two-run shot by Curtis Granderson.

The Mets added another in the fifth, knocking out Royals starter Yovano Ventura.

In the meantime, Syndergaard settled down, succeeding where Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom didn’t in the first two games. After allowing six hits in the first two innings, he looked like a different pitcher.

Despite a shaky start, Noah Syndergaard had a good Game 3

Despite a shaky start, Noah Syndergaard had a good Game 3

His spell ended only when Mike Moustakas stroked a two-out, sixth-inning grounder that Daniel Murphy gloved at second with a headlong dive that prevented him from throwing to first for the out.

Sal Perez, who seldom walks, drew a rare free pass — the pitcher’s first of the game — to bring up Game 1 hero Alex Gordon.

Game 1 hero Alex Gordon is still potent at the plate

Game 1 hero Alex Gordon is still potent at the plate

Gordon also walked, loading the bases for Alex Rios, who grounded out to end the threat. Manager Terry Collins said later that he never considered lifting his rookie pitcher.

Syndergaard fanned six in six innings, throwing 104 pitches in the process.

The Mets iced the game in the home sixth on an RBI single by Jose Uribe, who had missed the first two playoff rounds with a chest injury, an RBI hit by David Wright, who knocked in four runs; and a Yoenis Cespedes sacrifice fly with the bases full.

For the Mets, Game 3 was a must-win contest: no team has ever rebounded to win a World Series after dropping the first three games.

In the first three innings Friday, the Royals parlayed hits and speed to forge three runs. But the Mets scored four, thanks to two-run homers by Wright in the first and Curtis Granderson in the third.

Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer in Game 3

Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer in Game 3

In the top of the first, Syndergaard struck out the tough-to-fan Alcides Escobar before Kaycee quickly returned to the relentless form it had shown in winning the first two games, both at Kauffman Stadium.

Ben Zobrist lined a double off the wall, just to the left of the 408-foot sign in left-center, and Lorenzo Cain followed with an infield single. When Eric Hosmer hit into a fielder’s choice, the Royals jumped to an early lead.

The Mets rallied quickly, thanks to a Wright two-run homer that was his first in World Series action. But the 2-1 lead was short-lived.

Alcides Escobar is piling up playoff hits for Kaycee

Alcides Escobar is piling up playoff hits for Kaycee

Kansas City collected four hits and two runs in the second, helped by a Syndergaard wild pitch, and went ahead, 3-2. Leadoff man Alcides Escobar, Most Valuable Player in the American League Championship Series, was in the middle of the action again, poking his 22nd hit of the current postseason and stealing a base.

The Royals flurry was enough to coax action in the beleaguered Mets bullpen, with southpaw Jon Niese warming up in a hurry.

As in the first two games, New York had early trouble notching the third strike against the contact-conscious Royals.

But then things changed, with the Mets forging ahead in the third and never looking back.

Neither the Houston Astros nor Toronto Blue Jays, teams that slugged their way to the postseason, had been  able to stop the Royals this October.

That was not surprising since Kaycee had the highest batting average and lowest number of strikeouts in the major leagues during the 162-game regular season. The Royals ranked second in both stolen bases, batting average with runners on base, and batting average with men in scoring position.

With men in scoring position and two outs, they ranked first.

In addition, Kansas City had the most defensive runs saved of any team, thanks mainly to Gold Glove contenders Eric Hosmer at first base, Lorenzo Cain in center field, Sal Perez behind the plate, and Escobar at shortstop.

Royals manager Ned Yost had an unhappy Game 3 in New York

Royals manager Ned Yost had an unhappy Game 3 in New York

Though the starting pitching was shaky at times, the Royals also had a bullpen that could have written the script for Zero Hour — as in runs allowed. Closer Wade Davis, inheriting the last-man-standing mantle from the injured Greg Holland (elbow surgery), went more than a year without giving up a home run. His earned run mark over the last two seasons was a ridiculous 0.92.

Set-up man Kelvin Herrera was equally effective, with a 1.04 ERA over the first two rounds of the playoffs.

No wonder the Royals outlasted the Blue Jays, the top-scoring club in the majors, and the Astros, who ranked second in slugging.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Dusty Baker, shut out of managerial openings in Washington and Miami, hopes to land in Los Angeles, where he once played . . .

San Diego’s new manager, Andy Green, is even more anonymous that its last, Pat Murphy . . .

Don Mattingly will be moving to Miami

Don Mattingly will be moving to Miami

After letting Dan Jennings spend the 2015 season as both manager and general manager, the Marlins fired him from both jobs . . .

Ruben Amaro’s willingness to serve as Boston’s first-base coach suggests he sees the job as a stepping-stone to managing.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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