Edinson Volquez ran into his manager shortly after arriving at the ballpark Saturday night having just returned from the Dominican Republic to tend to the funeral of his father.
"Ned [Yost] told me, 'Hey, are you able to pitch?'" Volquez said late Saturday. "I said, 'Yeah, that's why I'm here. I want to pitch. I want to make people proud.'"
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Volquez, whose father, Daniel, died the afternoon of his start in Game 1 last week, no doubt did that Sunday night in Game 5 of the World Series.
The 32-year-old struggled with his command at times, allowing two runs (one unearned) and two hits over six innings. Volquez, who stranded four and left after six innings trailing Matt Harvey 2-0, walked five and struck out five.
The righthander entered Sunday 1-2 with a 4.37 ERA in four previous postseason starts, including Game 1 of this series when he allowed three runs and six hits over six innings, but, aside from the walks, was mostly outstanding, just no match for the brilliant Harvey.
Leadoff man Curtis Granderson took Volquez's first pitch of the night, a 95-mph fastball for a strike and fouled away the next pitch, an 84-mph changeup. Granderson caught the third pitch squarely, driving an 87-mph changeup to deep right-center for his third homer of the postseason, putting the Royals in a 1-0 hole.
Volquez recovered, striking out David Wright swinging at a 96-mph fastball and Daniel Murphy looking at a 96-mph fastball, then ended the 14-pitch inning by getting Yoenis Cespedes to ground to third.
Lucas Duda worked a walk to start the second but Volquez induced a grounder to second that Ben Zobrist turned into a 4-4-3 double play. Volquez struck out Michael Conforto, who homered twice in Game 4, with a darting 82-mph curveball to end the inning.
Volquez struck out Wright for the second time in the game, this time with a changeup, to lead off the fourth and walked Murphy. Cespedes, however, grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.
Harvey had five strikeouts through four innings. Volquez, his fastball consistently in the 94-96 mph range, had four.
Two Mets reached base for the first time in the game in the fifth. Lucas Duda led off with a walk and, after Travis d'Arnaud flew out and Michael Conforto's groundout to first moved Duda to second, Wilmer Flores was intentionally walked to bring Harvey to the plate. The Mets pitcher grounded to short for the third out, leaving Volquez at 69 pitches through five.
The Mets tacked on against Volquez in the sixth. Granderson led off with a walk and Wright singled to left. Murphy, whose eight-inning error opened the door for the Royals' comeback in Game 4, followed with a grounder to first where Eric Hosmer committed his second error of the Series, loading the bases.
Cespedes, after fouling a 0-and-1 pitch off his left knee and staying down for several minutes, popped out to short. Duda got the run in with a sacrifice fly to center, making it 2-0 but Volquez kept it there, as d'Arnaud grounded to third.