KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Losing Game 1 of the World Series hurts under any circumstances. Losing Game 1 of the World Series when your most reliable player falters at the worst possible time hurts even more.
"It's hard to believe," Jon Niese said.
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"We were all shocked by it," Terry Collins said.
Mets fans presumably felt the same way Tuesday night (and into Wednesday morning) as Jeurys Familia blew a save in the ninth inning that opened the door for the Royals to win, 5-4, in a Series record-tying 14 innings at Kauffman Stadium.
It happened with one out in the ninth and the Mets leading 4-3 when Alex Gordon launched a mammoth home run to dead centerfield.
Entering the night, Familia had allowed no earned runs and two hits in 9 2/3 innings in the postseason. He had secured five saves.
It had been a Mariano Rivera-esque stretch. When it ended, Familia did his best Rivera impression but repeatedly insisted that he would be just fine later Wednesday if called upon again.
"It's not difficult for me," he said of the shrugging-off process. "It's part of the game. It just means that my fastball was up in the zone and he made the swing and that's it."
Familia said he knew the Royals had talented hitters, "but if I made my pitches like I've been doing, I'd be OK."
Surprised, though, after all the recent success?
"No, I'm not surprised, because I can make mistakes," he said. "Everybody makes mistakes in this game. You just try to move forward and that's it . . . I mean, tomorrow is another day.
"This is a game that everybody knows if we make mistakes, we're going to pay for it. Tomorrow is a new day. I don't think about it. He got a good swing at my fastball and tomorrow is a new day and we move forward and I'll do my job."
Said Daniel Murphy: "I'm sure he'd like to have that one back, but I'll take my chances with him tomorrow night. Hopefully, we'll give him the same opportunity."
Added Niese: "It happens. It happens to the best of them. But he's going to come back."