The play was one Daniel Murphy probably makes nine out of 10 times. A slow chopper to second base. He comes in, scoops the ball and throws to first.

Not this time.

Not in the eighth inning of the fourth game of the World Series.

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"I didn't make it the only time it counts," Murphy said Saturday night after Eric Hosmer's grounder went under his glove for an error that allowed the tying run to score from second base.

The Royals went on to score twice more in the inning for a 5-3 victory and a 3-1 series lead over the stunned Mets at Citi Field.

For all of Murphy's mighty clouts this postseason -- home runs in a postseason-record six games in a row -- the sight of the ball going under his glove and into rightfield might end up being one of the defining moments of this World Series if the Mets don't make a historic rally.

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"It's frustrating because this ballclub -- we put ourselves in position to win a ballgame today and I misplayed it," Murphy said. "There's no excuse for it. We lost the ballgame because of it."

Of course, even after Murphy's miscue, the score was tied. Jeurys Familia, who had entered with runners on first and second and one out after Tyler Clippard walked back-to-back Royals, still had a chance to get out of the inning.

But Mike Moustakas grounded a single to right to drive in the go-ahead run and Salvador Perez lined another RBI single to right-center to give Kansas City a two-run lead. With closer Wade Davis getting a six-out save, the Royals backed the Mets up to the brink of winter going into Sunday night's Game 5.

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"Jeurys did his job," Murphy said. "I didn't do my job . . . He gets Eric to roll over a ball right there and I tried to one-hand it. That probably deserved to be two-handed. I tried to come through on it and I probably had more time on it. I just misplayed it. Went right under my glove and Jeurys paid for it. I put us in a really bad spot and it's frustrating.

After the error, Murphy said his only thought was, "I'm hoping to get a double-play ball. And Jeurys throws another [grounder]. They just placed it in the right spot, and then Salvy puts a good AB to get it and then we do get the double-play ball. But I made a mistake . . . too costly. If I make that play right there, second and third, two outs, I give Jeurys a good chance to get out of that inning right there unscathed. And I didn't make it."

Said David Wright: "Daniel Murphy didn't lose the game. We lost the game as a team."

Murphy, who went 1-for-4 and is batting .176 (3-for-17) in the World Series, singled with one out in the ninth and moved to second when Yoenis Cespedes also singled

But the Mets made their final mistake of the night when Cespedes took off for second on Lucas Duda's soft liner to third baseman Moustakas. Cespedes easily was doubled off first to end the game.

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"I thought it was going to touch the grass," Cespedes said through his translator. "I didn't think it was going to turn into a double play."

It did, and on Halloween Night, the Mets are one loss away from turning into a pumpkin.