NEW YORK -- It was not Salvador Perez's leadoff single in the 12th inning Sunday that made the winning run inevitable in World Series Game 5, nor was it Christian Colon's go-ahead RBI single that altered the face of a rally already spiraling out of control. Instead, it was a simple stolen base from pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson, who grabbed second with no outs and without much resistance.
Moments later, Colon came through and the Royals tacked on four more runs to take the title with a 7-2 victory.
When the Mets begin ticking off their list of things that went wrong against the Royals, they will consider that steal and so many others like it. Eleven times this postseason, teams ran on the Mets. Eleven times, they were successful, including seven in the World Series. The Mets' inability to stop Kansas City's basestealers cost them an edge.
"That's just how they play," said catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who was behind the plate for all 11 steals. "That's all I've ever seen, even watching them on TV in the playoffs, watching them on TV during the regular season. That's just how they play. They take chances, and it paid off for them."
The most significant such chance came during the Royals' game-tying rally in the ninth inning Sunday, when Eric Hosmer brashly dashed home with the tying run from third on a groundout, forcing Lucas Duda to hurriedly make an off-target throw home. But another came in the 12th, on Dyson's steal. By the time the speedy Dyson reached second base, he had transformed the inning, later moving to third on a routine groundout. That forced the Mets to draw their infield in, not that it mattered; Colon, a seldom-used backup infielder, found plenty of grass with his go-ahead RBI single.
"Somebody's got to come through," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You'd almost get yourself in a situation where, hey, look, if you're going to face somebody, that's the guy you want to face: somebody that hasn't played much."
From there, the inning spiraled away from relievers Addison Reed and Bartolo Colon. Another error from second baseman Daniel Murphy -- who had a crucial error in the eighth inning of Game 4 -- opened the floodgates even further. Five times total, the Royals scored, thrice on Lorenzo Cain's double.
"We just find ways to win baseball games," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
And there was little that the Mets, who were not necessarily built in the margins, could do. All season, the Mets relied on power pitching and power hitting; if either faltered, they tended to as well. As Duda and Murphy demonstrated, the Mets do not play excellent defense. Their National League Championship Series win over the Cubs aside, they do not steal bases. Nor do they control the running game particularly well.
It was that latter aspect that cost them in their season's final inning.
"At the Major League level, you certainly shouldn't be intimidated by the fact that they have speed," Collins said. "We know that. We've played teams that have speed before. But the game speeds up, and they are certainly very dangerous."