KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The reigning champion Kansas City Royals picked up where they left off in November, beating Matt Harvey and the New York Mets 4-3 on Sunday night in the first opening-day rematch of a World Series.
With runners at the corners in the ninth inning, All-Star closer Wade Davis struck out David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes to preserve the win.
Edinson Volquez (1-0), who started the decisive Game 5 at Citi Field last fall, allowed two hits and three walks over six scoreless innings, his night curtailed by an inflated pitch count rather than anything the Mets did.
It wasn’t until Joakim Soria came on in the eighth that New York rallied, scoring three times on Lucas Duda’s two-run single and Neil Walker’s RBI groundout. Luke Hochevar struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to strand runners on first and second.
Davis promptly got into another jam in the ninth before holding on.
Harvey (0-1) allowed four runs — three earned — on eight hits and two walks in 5 2-3 innings for the Mets.
There wound up being little good about opening night for the NL East champs, still in search of their first championship in three decades. They spent nearly an hour before the first pitch reliving last year’s World Series defeat through a steady stream of highlights on the crown-shaped big screen, then had to watch the raising of the championship banner over the Royals Hall of Fame in left field at Kauffman Stadium.
Things didn’t get a whole lot better once the game began.
Cespedes, the Gold Glove outfielder whose shoddy fielding hurt the Mets in the Series, dropped an easy fly ball in the first inning that ultimately led to the Royals’ opening run.
Kansas City then strung together a couple of singles before Kendrys Morales popped a sacrifice fly to center in the fourth, and Alex Gordon and Omar Infante added two-out RBI singles in the sixth.
Volquez and the Kansas City defense had things well in hand by that point.
The right-hander escaped a jam by getting Travis d’Arnaud to ground out in the second inning, then watched first baseman Eric Hosmer make a nice diving stop to escape a sticky spot in the third. All-Star catcher Salvador Perez threw out Michael Conforto trying to steal second base to end the fourth.
The biggest misstep Volquez made may have been fashion-related — he wore his spring training hat with a gold crown over the interlocking “KC” to start the game. He swapped it out for the proper one before taking the field for the second inning.
Mets: Harvey got the start despite having a blood clot in his bladder that led to a minor procedure last week. “When the word ‘blood clot’ came up, that’s severe stuff,” manager Terry Collins said. “We started to look at alternative plans and what we might do down the road. Fortunately, it came out he’s going to be OK.”
Royals: RF Jarrod Dyson was milling around the clubhouse before the game. He’s out a few more weeks with an oblique injury that he sustained in the first game of spring training.
During the pregame festivities, DH Morales picked up his Silver Slugger Award, and 1B Hosmer, C Perez and SS Alcides Escobar got their Gold Gloves. The remaining members of last season’s team are scheduled to get their championship rings before Tuesday’s game.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard, whose inside pitch to Escobar in Game 3 was a flashpoint of the World Series, takes the mound Tuesday. Syndergaard allowed three runs in six innings in a 9-3 victory that night.
Royals: RHP Chris Young started Game 4 of the World Series against New York. He also earned the win in Game 1 when he tossed three scoreless innings in a 5-4, 14-inning victory.