SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Brandon Finnegan passed his biggest test yet.
Only four months after he pitched in the College World Series, the 21-year-old reliever trotted into a troubling seventh inning, got two key outs and helped the Kansas City Royals hold off San Francisco 3-2 Friday night in Game 3 of the World Series.
Along with making history with his rapid ascent, he did more for the Royals — he gave them a 2-1 lead over the Giants.
Back in June, Finnegan said he “lived the college dream” when he threw for TCU. But no one could have envisioned what would follow.
Yet there he was at a rollicking AT&T Park, warming up when he was summoned into a tense spot to take over for proven reliever Kelvin Herrera: Runner on first, one out, Royals clinging to a one-run lead over the rallying Giants.
All of Kansas City infielders huddled behind the mound as Finnegan got loose, realizing the most important point of their season was being entrusted to the rookie left-hander.
Right before pinch-hitter Juan Perez stepped up, Finnegan walked to the back of the mound, took off his hat, looked toward the stands and tried to steady himself.
Then it was time for business, and Finnegan delivered. He retired Perez on an easy fly and struck out Brandon Crawford to end the inning.
Finnegan started to jog off the mound, stopped short of the dugout and walked the rest of the way to the bench, where he was congratulated by Herrera and several other Royals.
Picked 17th overall in the June draft, Finnegan became the first person to be in the College World Series and major league World Series in the same season.