KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Much of the pregame media noise revolved around how the young Royals would handle their first loss of the postseason.
Quite well, thank you.
Roaring back after Tuesday night's setback, the Royals spanked the Giants, 7-2, in Game 2 of the World Series Wednesday night in front of a thunderous, white-and-blue towel-waving crowd of 40,446 at Kauffman Stadium.
The Series, even at one game apiece, shifts to San Francisco for the next three games, starting tomorrow night.
"Especially at home, I felt like definitely it was a must win for us," said Royals DH Billy Butler, whose RBI single in the first made it 1-0 and whose RBI single in a five-run sixth gave his club the lead for good at 3-2. "We felt like with our big sixth inning there, we took a little momentum out of how they were playing. We showed them that we have fight in us, and I think they knew that already. But we stepped up big there as a team, and that gave us some confidence in that clubhouse."
Royals rookie righthander Yordano Ventura was OK, allowing two runs and eight hits in 51/3 innings, but the difference was the sixth, an inning in which both managers called on their bullpens.
In the top of the sixth, with the score tied at 2, Royals manager Ned Yost brought in Kelvin Herrera to replace Ventura with one out and two on, and the fire-throwing righthander got out of the inning. Eight of the reliever's nine pitches were fastballs, each of them 100 mph or higher.
Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined to allow one hit over the final 32/3 innings.
"We've got a pretty good recipe for success with Herrera, Davis and Holland," Yost said of what was baseball's best back end of a bullpen this season.
In the bottom half, Giants manager Bruce Bochy ended Jake Peavy's night after the first two batters reached. Four relievers later, the Royals had put five runs on the board, the big blows Salvador Perez's two-run double and Omar Infante's two-run homer.
Hunter Strickland, who gave up Infante's blast, seemed to take exception to the way Perez sauntered down the third-base line on the homer and nearly touched off a bench-clearing incident, though the minor fracas amounted to nothing.
"He shows his emotions but it's an area he probably has to work on because you're going to give up a home run occasionally," Bochy said of Strickland, a rookie who has allowed five of them this postseason. "These are things we'll talk to him about."
Said Perez: "I don't know what happened with that guy. But the last thing, we don't want to fight on the field."
Peavy, 1-3 with a 7.03 ERA in seven previous postseason starts, allowed four runs and six hits in five-plus innings to take the loss.
After Giants leadoff man Gregor Blanco got his team going with a homer, the 19th leadoff homer in World Series history, the Royals tied it in the bottom half on Butler's two-out single.
The Royals took their first lead of the Series in the second on Alcides Escobar's two-out double that brought home Infante, who also doubled, to make it 2-1. The Giants tied it in the fourth on Brandon Belt's double.
After Herrera got out of trouble in the sixth, the Royals put it away in the bottom half.
Cain and Eric Hosmer reached against Peavy, and Butler's single off Jean Machi gave the Royals the lead. Lefty Javier Lopez retired Alex Gordon but Strickland gas-lit the inning, allowing Perez's double and Infante's homer, which made it 7-2.
"You never know how guys are going to respond to that, losing in the World Series," Butler said. "But we feel confident going in there [San Francisco] 1-1."