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Oct 22, 2014 9:23 PM

Butler, Escobar rally Royals to 2-1 lead in Game 2

The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Billy Butler and Alcides Escobar had run-scoring hits off Jake Peavy, and the Kansas City Royals took a 2-1 lead over San Francisco after three innings Wednesday night as they tried to even the World Series at a game apiece.

Gregor Blanco started the game with a home run for the Giants off hard-throwing rookie Yordano Ventura, but the Royals came back with runs in the first and second innings to take their first lead of the Series.

After the ceremonial first pitch from retired Royals star George Brett, Blanco drove Ventura's eighth pitch, a 98 mph fastball, into the Kansas City bullpen for his first home run since Sept. 22. It was the 10th home run by the opening batter of a Series game, the first since Boston's Johnny Damon in 2004.

Escobar reached on an infield hit leading off the bottom half, a hard one-hopper that popped out of the glove of shortstop Brandon Crawford, who tried for a backhand stop.

Escobar was caught stealing second by catcher Buster Posey, but Lorenzo Cain doubled with two outs, Eric Hosmer walked and Butler bounced a single past the outstretched glove of a diving Crawford, ending Kansas City's 0-for-17 slide with runners in scoring position dating to Game 2 of the AL Championship Series against Boston.

Butler is a .441 hitter (15 for 34) against Peavy.

Making his first start since Oct. 11, Ventura showed the heat that made him the starting pitcher with the highest average velocity in the major leagues this year. He reached 100 mph on his first pitch to Posey in the first.

Omar Infante pulled a double with one out in the second and scored with two outs when Peavy left a first-pitch fastball over the plate and Escobar sliced an opposite-field double inside the right-field line.

San Francisco, which opened at home en route to titles in 2010 and 2012, was trying to become the first team to win the first two Series games on the road since the 1999 New York Yankees on the way to their sweep of Atlanta. Forty-two of 53 teams to take 2-0 leads went on to win the title, including nine straight since the 1996 Braves lost to the Yankees in six games.

Peavy, a 33-year-old right-hander with the word "outsider" tattooed on his left forearm, has made 337 regular-season starts. Ventura, a 23-year-old righty, has made 33.

Ventura, the first rookie at any position to start a Series game for the Royals, topped big league starting pitchers this year with an average fastball velocity of 98.23 mph, according to Baseball Prospectus. He needed 20 pitches to get through the first inning and 50 over the first three.

After a day off, the Series shifts Friday to bayside AT&T Park in San Francisco.

NOTES: Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig held a pregame news conference to honor Pete Frates, the former Boston College baseball captain who is afflicted with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Frates inspired the ice bucket challenge last summer, and Selig presented an inscribed silver ice bucket to his father, John; mother, Nancy; brother, Andrew, and sister, Jennifer. Frates, 29, was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago. He is paralyzed and was not able to attend. ... Commissioner elect Rob Manfred presented a pair of new awards for relief pitchers, named after Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman. Kansas City's Greg Holland received the AL honor and Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel was given the NL award.


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