NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, November 2, 2015, 3:13 AM
As Edinson Volquez walked to the bullpen to warm up for Game 5, he felt something behind him.
It was his father.
The story has been well-chronicled that Volquez didn’t know about his father’s passing until after he left the game, but the emotions were flowing through him Sunday night, less than 72 hours after he attended the funeral back home.
“It was really tough,” Volquez said. “I came back from the Dominican after my dad passed away, told my skipper and my pitching coach thEdiat I wanted to pitch this game because my mom wanted me to pitch. I was pretty sure my dad would see me pitch.
“When I was walking to the bullpen, I felt like he was right behind me. It was hard for me in the first inning, staying under control without thinking about my dad. After that, I thought I put it away a little and stayed under control. I did what I was supposed to do.”
With his father’s initials written on the inside of his hat and carved into the dirt on the mound, Volquez went out gave up a leadoff home run by Curtis Granderson on his third pitch of the night.
He settled down and retired the next three batters, then faced the minimum nine batters over the next three frames thanks to a pair of double plays, holding the Mets’ lead at 1-0 while Matt Harvey dominated the Royals inning after inning.
“Harvey was pitching a tremendous game tonight,” Volquez said. “He can pitch. I have a lot of respect for him, the way he threw the ball tonight. He went out and competed with us, did a good job.”
After battling his emotions in the first inning, Volquez managed to push them aside and focus on the task at hand. Pitching coach Dave Eiland did his best to keep things as normal as possible for Volquez, chatting with him between innings.
“There was a different look in his eye (in the first), but I just approached him and talked to him like I did in any other start this year,” Eiland said. “I’d just walk by and say something to him like I normally would, joke with him a little bit. After he got that first hit, I said, ‘You’re hitting 1.000 in the World Series; that’s pretty good.’ Stuff like that. I just wanted to try to keep him thinking about baseball.
“The way he could set his emotions aside and just concentrate on the biggest stage in the world is unbelievable. He’s a strong guy, but he really proved tonight how strong he is.”
Volquez kept his composure as the 1-0 game moved to the sixth, but the Mets used a walk, a single and an error to load the bases with nobody out. The righthander limited the damage to one run, keeping the Royals well within striking distance.
“I had a really difficult inning, the sixth inning, with the bases loaded,” Volquez said. “They were only able to score a run. I think my dad may have helped me there.”
The Royals lifted Volquez for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, though Eiland said the pitcher would certainly have stayed in the game for at least another inning had they not been playing under National League rules.
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From that point on, Volquez was unable to do anything but cheer on his teammates, which he did as they tied the game in the ninth and busted out for five runs in the 12th to finish off the Mets.
“It’s the best team I’ve ever played for,” Volquez said. “The chemistry we’ve got here, there’s a lot of energy, and support – it’s crazy, man. I’ve never seen something like that before.”
With tears – and champagne – in his eyes after the game, Volquez reflected on what this night would have meant to his father.
“He’d be jumping around, enjoying all this,” Volquez said. “He’d probably be next to me right now. It’s unbelievable; it’s a great feeling, to win the World Series. I know I lost my dad, but I made a lot of people proud of me today.
“I think my dad would be proud right now. I love my dad. I’m going to love him forever.”