AP Photo/David J. PhillipSan Francisco Giants' Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey celebrate after Game 5 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Sunday

AP Photo/David J. PhillipSan Francisco Giants' Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey celebrate after Game 5 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Sunday

Giants, Royals ready for wild World Series finish

SAN FRANCISCO — Buster Posey was annoyed. Playfully so. The Giants catcher wanted Madison Bumgarner to do more than barely break a smile after a brilliant pitching performance put San Francisco one win from another World Series title.

No way, Buster.

Because in this postseason full of stars and surprises, who knows? Heck, Bumgarner might still have more work to do.

Baseball took its final break Monday before the Giants and Royals settle things. Holding a 3-2 edge, San Francisco will try to claim its third championship in five years Tuesday night when the wild-card matchup resumes at Kauffman Stadium.

The day off gave fans a chance to savor what they'd already seen in the past month, and there was plenty — the success of Bumgarner, Lorenzo Cain and Yusmeiro Petit, the struggles of Clayton Kershaw, Mike Trout and Detroit's aces, a rack of tight games and one that went 18 innings.

“Clayton who? MadBum!” one man yelled as he exited AT&T Park after the Giants won 5-0 Sunday night.

Could be a lot more cooking in this October oven, too.

Maybe Ned Yost even had it right.

“Oh, man, somewhere inside of me, secretly I had hoped that it would go seven games for the excitement and the thrill of it,” the Kansas City manager said after a loss in Game 4. “Sure looks that way.”

Perhaps it's only fitting this Fall Classic ends at Kauffman Stadium, a place hosting playoff baseball for the first time in 29 years. The Royals started this pulsating postseason at home with a 9-8 comeback win in 12 innings over Oakland in the AL wild-card game, a thriller that began on the last day of September and nearly stretched into October.

That captivating night in Kansas City set the stage for a month to remember: dramatic finishes, favorites falling and underdogs overachieving, stars slipping and new ones shining.

What happens next is anybody's guess. After all, the last time Game 6 of the World Series came to Kansas City, one of the most surreal scenes in baseball history unfolded: first base umpire Don Denkinger's botched call serving as the signature moment of the 1985 World Series won by the Royals over St. Louis.

"We know we can do it,” Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. “We're a confident group. But we can't do anything without winning Game 6. We're excited to get back home where we feed off the fans and that energy.”

Veteran Jake Peavy starts for the Giants against rookie Yordano Ventura — not exactly the matchup many would've predicted in April.

cBut the majors' most notable names during the regular season — Dodgers ace Kershaw and Angels slugger Trout — flamed out fast in the Division Series. A trio of Cy Young winners didn't do enough for Detroit. Injuries slowed down former Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.

Even playoff-proven starter Jon Lester looked lost under October's bright lights for the one-and-done Athletics. Plus up-and-coming starter Stephen Strasburg showed he still has to polish his postseason poise for the Nationals.

Instead, these playoffs bred a new batch of baseball darlings: Cain and the running Royals, starter-turned-reliever Petit and a pair of blazing bullpens that no longer overlooked in the World Series.

Of course, no star has burned brighter than a 25-year-old lefty from North Carolina, the one who peeved Posey with his tempered postgame reaction.

Bumgarner's dominant performances in Game 1 and Game 5 — not to mention in every previous round of the playoffs — has put San Francisco one win away from for another parade down Market Street, something Willie Mays, Barry Bonds and generations of Giants fans had dreamed of for so long.

Now it's becoming an every-other-year tradition. And if the Giants don't win Game 6, there's always a chance Bumgarner could emerge from the bullpen to help out in Game 7.

“It's not going to be easy at all,” Giants first baseman Brandon Belt said. “It matters that we know that, and I think everybody on this team knows that.”

Royals rookie Brandon Finnegan might understand the topsy-turvy nature of these playoffs better than anyone.

Only four months after he pitched in the College World Series, the 21-year-old reliever got two key outs in the seventh inning as Kansas City won Game 3. A night later, Finnegan failed to bridge the gap to the back end of the bullpen, allowing five runs in an 11-4 loss to San Francisco.

“Baseball can pick you up quickly,” Finnegan said, “and hit you in the gut quickly.”

MLBSan FranciscoSan 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

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

Steven Buss, left, and Sachin Agarwal co-founded Grow SF, which plans to produce election voter guides offering a moderate agenda. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Grow SF: New tech group aims to promote moderate ideals to political newcomers

Sachin Agarwal has lived in San Francisco for 15 years. But the… Continue reading

Most Read