Game 7 of World Series: 'A gift for everyone'

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Game 7 of World Series: 'A gift for everyone'
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28: Omar Infante #14 of the Kansas City Royals sildes into home to score in the fifth inning against Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants during Game Six of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg watches as Kansas City Royals' Omar Infante slides safely past San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey during the fifth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. Infante scored from first on a double by Alcides Escobar. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Kansas City Royals' Omar Infante, right, scores past San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey on a double by Alcides Escobar during the fifth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg watches as Kansas City Royals' Omar Infante slides safely past San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey during the fifth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. Infante scored from first on a double by Alcides Escobar. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Kansas City Royals' Omar Infante, left, scores past San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey on a double by Alcides Escobar during the fifth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals' Omar Infante slides safely past San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey during the fifth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. Infante scored from first on a double by Alcides Escobar. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Kansas City Royals' Omar Infante, left, scores past San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey on a double by Alcides Escobar during the fifth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals' Omar Infante slides safely past San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey during the fifth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. Infante scored from first on a double by Alcides Escobar. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Kansas City Royals' Omar Infante slides safely past San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey during the fifth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. Infante scored from first on a double by Alcides Escobar. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28: Omar Infante #14 of the Kansas City Royals sildes into home to score in the fifth inning against Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants during Game Six of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28: Omar Infante #14 of the Kansas City Royals sildes into home to score in the fifth inning against Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants during Game Six of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval yawns during the sixth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey loses his by after strike during the sixth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey loses his bat as he swings during the sixth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series =ar-Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28: Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants looks on from the dugout during Game Six of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey watches from the dugout during the second inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has an RIP O.T. #18 on his hat as he walks off the field during the first inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. The writing was to honor St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras who died Sunday in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura throws during the first inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Tannen Maury, Pool)
Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura throws during the first inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura reacts after getting San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey to ground into an inning ending, bases loaded double play during the third inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals looks to the sky as he walks back to the dugout during Game 6 of the 2014 World Series against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals walks to the dugout after pitching in the fourth inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game Six of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants pitcher Jake Peavy throws during the first inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Tannen Maury, Pool)
San Francisco Giants pitcher Jake Peavy adjusts his cap after giving up a single to Kansas City Royals Alex Gordon during the second inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28: Yusmeiro Petit #52 of the San Francisco Giants reacts after giving up an RBI double in the second inning against the Kansas City Royals during Game Six of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit wipes his brow after allowing a hit during the second inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Kansas City Royals' Alcides Escobar celebrates his RBI-double against the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals' Omar Infante is congratulated after scoring from first on a double by Alcides Escobar during the fifth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain, right, hits an RBI-double off San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Jean Machi during the third inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain hits a RBI double during the third inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Kansas City Royals' Billy Butler watches his RBI-single during the second inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals Alcides Escobar (2) is congratulated by teammates Mike Moustakas (8) and Eric Hosmer (35) after scoring on an two-run RBI single by Lorenzo Cain during the second inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Kansas City Royals fielder Norichika Aoki watches his RBI single to score Salvador Perez during the second inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Kansas City Royals Lorenzo Cain makes a catch in the outfield on a pop fly by San Francisco Giants Joe Panik during the first inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Kansas City Royals fans cheer during the fourth inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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In Kansas City, Game 7 of the World Series conjures up memories of Bret Saberhagen's brilliance, a St. Louis meltdown and the only Royals championship in 1985.

The flashbacks in San Francisco aren't nearly as sweet. There was Willie McCovey's game-ending lineout that was oh-so-close to being a Series-winning hit in 1962 and another loss 40 years later by Barry Bonds & Co. to the Angels.

Be it Babe Ruth, Jack Morris or Mariano Rivera, the moments created in an all-or-nothing game resonate through baseball history.

Who knows what's on deck Wednesday night when Giants visit the Royals in the 37th winner-take-all game in Series history?

"A Game 7 in the World Series is a gift for everyone," Giants outfielder Hunter Pence said. "It's pretty special. It's like incredibly entertaining for fans, incredibly entertaining for the world and the game of baseball."

It can also be heartbreaking. Just ask McCovey.

He came up with runners on second and third and two outs in the bottom of the ninth with the Giants trailing Ralph Terry and the Yankees 1-0 in 1962. McCovey hit a screaming liner that went right to second baseman Bobby Richardson to give the Yankees the Series. Had the ball been a foot or two in either direction, San Francisco would have won it all.

"I think about the line drive, yes," McCovey said during the 2012 Series. "Can't get away from it."

That dramatic ending came two years after Terry lost Game 7 on a game-ending homer by Pittsburgh's Bill Mazeroski.

"I was looking at this as a chance to redeem myself," Terry said. "Otherwise, I might have been remembered as one of the great losers of all time."

San Francisco's other Game 7 of the World Series was much more anticlimactic. The Giants had a 5-0 lead in Game 6 that year against the Angels, just eight outs away from a title. But Anaheim scored three in the seventh and three in the eighth to win it.

John Lackey then shut down Bonds and the Giants in a 4-1 victory in Game 7.

The Royals' only Game 7 followed a similar pattern, but with a much happier result for them. Kansas City rallied to win Game 6 against St. Louis with two runs in the bottom of the ninth with help from a missed call at first base by umpire Don Denkinger.

The Cardinals never recovered and lost 11-0 in Game 7 behind a five-hitter by Saberhagen.

A look at some of the other memorable seventh games of the World Series:

OH, BABE!

The strangest ending might have been in 1926. Babe Ruth drew a two-out walk in the ninth off fellow future Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander with the Yankees trailing the Cardinals 3-2. With Bob Meusel at the plate, Ruth broke for second, but the great slugger was thrown out by Bob O'Farrell. It's the only time the final out in a Series came on a caught stealing.

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HE WHO HESITATES

The long World Series drought for the Red Sox would have been much shorter than 86 years if not for three Game 7 losses along the way. The first of those came in 1946 against the Cardinals when the game was tied at 3 in the bottom of the eighth. Enos Slaughter was on first with two outs when Harry Walker hit a line drive to center. Leon Culberson threw the ball to shortstop Johnny Pesky, who hesitated for a second as Slaughter dashed home with the deciding run.

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SLIPPING AWAY

The Tigers won a laugher in Game 6 to force a seventh game against St. Louis in 1968, but had to get through October ace Bob Gibson to win it all. Gold Glove center fielder Curt Flood slipped chasing a fly ball in the seventh and the two-out misplay broke a scoreless tie. A five-hitter by Mickey Lolich on two days' rest did the rest in the Tigers' 4-1 win.

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A MORRIS MASTERPIECE

The 1991 Series was tense all the way through with three extra-inning games and five one-run contests between Atlanta and Minnesota. The Twins forced the seventh game on Kirby Puckett's game-ending homer in the 11th inning of Game 6 and the tension didn't let up one bit the next night. John Smoltz and Jack Morris were locked in a classic duel as the game was scoreless despite each team loading the bases with one out in the eighth. Smoltz left in the eighth but Morris kept going through the 10th and ended up the winner when Gene Larkin hit a bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom half.

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DESERT DRAMA

Just like this year's Series, a Game 6 rout by the home team forced a decisive seventh game and it turned into a classic as the Yankees tried to beat Arizona for a fourth straight title in 2001. Roger Clemens, Mariano Rivera, Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson all took the mound that night in the desert. Rivera had a 2-1 lead going into the ninth but got in trouble after his throwing error on a bunt attempt. Tony Womack tied the game with a double. That set the stage for Luis Gonzalez's broken-bat RBI single over a drawn-in infield that ended the Yankees' dynasty.

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