KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An 0-2 series deficit transpired over 35 pitches from Jacob deGrom in the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.In a stunning sight, the All-Star finally broke for the first time this postseason, the result of continuous quality at-bats by a pesky and unrelenting Royals team.A Mets lead turned into a three-run deficit by the time deGrom made his walk off the mound, and the Mets are now two losses away from their season ending.DeGrom faltered and the Mets dropped both road games to start this World Series after falling, 7-1, on Wednesday night in Game 2 of the World Series. DeGrom allowed a postseason-high four runs in five innings – all of them scoring in the pivotal fifth – and was outpitched by Johnny Cueto.Cueto allowed only one run in tossing a complete game, two-hitter — both coming off the bat of Lucas Duda.
Trailing in a postseason series for the first time, the Mets turned to their ace to get them even. They were confident since deGrom had delivered in each of his playoffs starts thus far. He bested Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 of the NLDS and vanquished Zack Greinke in Game 5 of that series, and then topped the Cubs in Game 3 of the NLCS.Against a feisty Royals team that does not strike out easily, deGrom posted four scoreless innings before Kansas City’s relentless attack finally got to him. DeGrom stranded the bases loaded in the fourth but didn’t have the same success in the pivotal fifth inning.After allowing a walk and a single to put two on with no outs, deGrom got ahead, 0-2, against Alcides Escobar when the shortstop bunted foul twice. DeGrom then turned to his slider, but he hung it and Escobar lined an RBI single into center to tie the game at 1.DeGrom got the next two outs while runners moved to second and third, but his slider failed him again and led to the Royal taking the lead. Eric Hosmer laced an 88-mph slider into center and two runs scored for a 3-1 Royals lead, and the crowd of 40,410 erupted.The starter also allowed an RBI single by Mike Moustakas that put the Mets in a 4-1 hole, as the Royals sent nine batters to the plate in the inning.DeGrom threw 94 pitches in his shortest postseason start, and struck out a season-low two batters. In surrendering five hits in the fifth, deGrom allowed more hits than he had in his NLCS start against the Cubs, and as many as he did in Game 1 of the NLDS. The four runs he allowed matched his total from his first three starts of the postseason combined.The Royals also had rare success against deGrom with runners in scoring position, as he held opponents 2-for-20 in his first three postseason starts before the Royals went 3-for-8.The Mets were not able to do the same damage against Cueto, who was masterful in nine dominant innings on 122 pitches..The lone run they score occurred after a Royals gaffe, and it marked the second straight night the Mets took a lead on a mishap by the home team. Cueto lost the strike zone in the fourth and issued two walks to put the Mets first runner in scoring position, and then induced a high chopper from Yoenis Cespedes to third.
Moustakas stepped on the bag for the force out, but fired an errant throw to first that took Hosmer off the bag, and the Royals failed to turn the inning-ending double play.Duda then made the Royals pay by dunking an RBI single into left field for a 1-0 lead. After Duda’s single, Cueto retired the next 15 batters he faced until he walked Daniel Murphy with two outs in the ninth.Matt Ehalt writes for The Record of Bergen County.Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.