Orlin Wagner/apThe Giants' Buster Posey

Orlin Wagner/apThe Giants' Buster Posey

Early adversity becomes turning point for Giants

It wasn't exactly a backs-against-the-wall moment, but the Giants did face a little bit of adversity in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday.

As has been the case throughout their remarkable postseason run, however, the Giants quickly recovered from the potentially deflating moment when Hunter Pence blasted a two-run homer, handing Madison Bumgarner a 3-0 lead before he had thrown a single pitch.

That was more than enough for MadBum, who once again proved unfazed by the biggest of October stages on the way to a victory that allowed the Giants to claim home-field advantage with a 7-1 win in the Fall Classic heading into Game 2 today in Kansas City.

And now we get to find out what these Royals are really all about. Losing their first postseason game in the wake of a ridiculous, electric 8-0 sprint to said stage represents a far more daunting dose of adversity then they've seen in quite some time, and their immediate response will tell you all you need to know about Cinderella's chances of getting jiggy with the prince at night's end.

Trying to score from first base on Pablo Sandoval's double and give San Francisco a 2-0 lead over the host Royals in the top of the first inning, Buster Posey was gunned down at the plate by a perfectly executed relay for the second out of the frame.

Buster Baseball is great at a great many things, but getting from Point A to Point B with exceptional expediency is not one of them. Sending Posey home, thereby challenging the Royals' grasp of the game's fundamentals, was an extremely rare mistake by Giants third base coach Tim Flannery, and Pence would have been excused for pressing at that point, perhaps rolling over on a ground ball to second base to end the inning.

Instead, he did what the 2014 Giants so often do. Poised and confident, he helped everyone wearing orange and black get over the flash of disappointment by flashing prodigious power. Bumgarner's recent history suggested that the game was all but over at that point, and it was.

Also over, by the way, is the use of “Big Game” in front of James Shields' name forever more. Gone from the proceedings by the fourth inning, Shields walked off with the postseason ERA hovering around 6.00.

That's about as deflating as it can get for these Royals, who have never been here before in more ways than one.

Never been to the World Series, never trailed in a series, never lost a freaking game.

How might they respond? That's the big question. Nobody knows.

Had the tables been turned, with the Giants dropping the opener behind their own ace, we all have a pretty good idea about how they would respond. They'd shrug it off, turn the page, and very likely recover in style from the potentially deflating moment.

There has to be an incredible comfort in that knowledge, and it's knowledge the Royals simply don't have.

Sure, it's only one game. And the Royals didn't get here without a considerable amount of fortitude.

But if their response to Tuesday's disappointment doesn't somewhat mirror Pence's response to Posey getting gunned down in the first inning, that one game — rather, one loss — will become two, and two will turn to four in a heartbeat.

That might sound overly dramatic, but come on. If there's one thing both of these two teams do quite well, it's drama with a capital D.

Mychael Urban, a longtime Bay Area-based sportswriter and broadcaster, is the host of “Inside the Bigs,” which airs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon on KGMZ “The Game” (95.7 FM).

Kansas City RoyalsMychael UrbanSan Francisco GiantsWorld Series

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays was sitting right behind me. The… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Diners eat in a Shared Spaces structure outside Sotto Mare restaurant in North Beach. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read