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Mets manager Terry Collins didn't lose the World Series

Long before the Kansas City Royals scored five runs in the 12th inning on Sunday night to win the 111th World Series, the Internet was afire with fans second-guessing Mets manager Terry Colllins for allowing pitching ace Matt Harvey to return to the mound with a two-run lead in the top of the ninth.

Collins apparently intended to go to closer Jeurys Familia, but after a three-way discussion with Harvey and pitching coach Dan Warthen, he allowed Harvey to start the ninth and -- as it turned out -- change the course of a game he had dominated for eight innings.

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Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain to lead off the inning and gave up a double to Eric Hosmer to cut the 2-0 lead in half. Collins turned the game over to Familia at that point and he did his job, getting a pair of ground balls, but Hosmer essentially stole the tying run by racing home from third base on what appeared to be a routine throw to first with the infield drawn in.

It was an aggressive play that would not have worked if first baseman Lucas Duda had made an adequate throw to the plate, but the Royals caught him off balance and he sailed the ball far wide of the plate.

Perhaps there was a case to be made that it was actually an ill-advised play that should have ended badly, but Hosmer apparently realized that the likelihood of scoring that way was at least as good as his statistical chance of scoring from third base with two outs and a very effective closer on the mound.

Three innings later, the Royals won the battle of the bullpens and hoisted the world championship trophy for only the second time in franchise history and the first time since 1985.

So, did Collins blow the game?

Hardly.

Harvey had been dominant for eight innings, giving up just four hits and striking out nine batters. He wanted to finish the game and he had earned the right to try.

"Certainly, I'm going to second-guess myself for a long time," Collins said in a FOX postgame interview, "but sometimes you've got to support your players.''

Maybe Familia would have delivered a clean ninth and the World Series would have moved back to Kansas City for Game 6 on Tuesday night, but lets be real. The Royals were much the superior team and it showed in their terrific defense, clutch hitting, great bullpen, never-say-die intensity and fearless play.

If Hosmer had gotten himself thrown out on that gamble in the ninth, he would have been the one to get second-guessed, but he pointed out after the game what everyone should have known about his team. It got to the mountaintop by taking chances like that, and anyone who doubts that need only remember Cain's mad dash from first to home on a soft single in the American League Championship Series against the Blue Jays.

The Royals simply would not be denied.

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