By JOHN DORN
In what could be the most hotly contested five-game World Series win ever, the Kansas City Royals toyed with the New York Mets time and time again -- winning a series in which they trailed in the eighth inning or later in four games.
It was a truly thrilling series, despite lasting just one game past the minimum. New York put on some brilliant pitching displays, but more often than not, Kansas City was there to answer in the ninth inning -- against a normally formidable back end of the Mets' bullpen.
With the World Series in the books, we'll take a look back at the best and worst performers throughout the five games.
Best of the Series
It turned out to be in a losing effort, but the Mets' right fielder continued his fantastic season into the Fall Classic. Granderson belted a Mets record three World Series home runs -- all go-ahead home runs -- and was one of only three New York players to go yard against Royals pitching. He batted .250 but posted an OBP of .360, walking four times and striking out just twice in 20 at-bats.
It's difficult to handpick any Royals in particular to put here, but their closer was by far the most dominant player in the series. He appeared in three of the five games, pitching four innings and allowing just three hits while striking out eight. His most crucial outing came in Game 4, hurling two shutout innings immediately after KC broke through for the lead against Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia after Steven Matz and Addison Reed held them in check through seven.
If the ball bounced a few different ways, Hosmer could've easily have found himself on the opposite end of this list. But the first baseman had a hand in what seemed like every Royals rally over the five games, depsite posting just a .190 batting average and making two errors. His most important play came in Game 5, sneaking down the third base line and dashing for the plate, scoring the tying run after Lucas Duda's throw came nowhere near the plate. He led the team in RBIs with six and scored three runs.
Worst of the Series
If there's one Royal that could possibly crack this side of the list, it's their Game 3 starter, who let the Mets right back into the series by lasting just 3.1 innings, allowing seven hits and five runs. Luckily for the Royals, he was the only losing pitcher of the series for Kansas City.
After a fairytale final two months of the regular season with the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes was a complete dud in the World Series, which could wind up costing him millions this winter in free agency. The outfielder failed to hit a homer in the series, knocking in just one run and hitting .150, while literally kicking two balls around the outfield and ending Game 4 with a costly base running blunder. In what will likely be his last at-bat as a Met, he fouled a 96 mile-per-hour fastball off his left knee cap, eventually forcing him out of the game.
Duda batted .263 in the series for the Mets -- their third-best average among starters -- but what will go down in history is his botched throw to home plate in Game 5 with Eric Hosmer streaking toward the plate as the tying run after Matt Harvey pitched a masterpiece. Duda recorded five hits in the series but struck out seven times while posting just a .581 OPS.
See photos from the Game 5 clincher:
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