2017 World Series

From BR Bullpen

2017 World Series
Houston Astros logo
2017 World Series logo
Los Angeles Dodgers logo
Houston Astros
101 - 61 in the AL
4 - 3
Series Summary
Los Angeles Dodgers
104 - 58 in the NL

Overview[edit]

The 2017 World Series featured an unprecedented match-up - at that level. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros had however met before in the postseason, in the 1981 Division Series, when the Astros were still members of the National League; they had also met the year before in a one-game playoff to determine the winner of the NL West division title in 1980. The Astros had won the 1980 encounter, but lost in 1981, and the two teams had also been members of the same division from 1969 to 1993, before the Astros moved to the NL Central.

The Dodgers had been to the World Series more often than any other National League team, this being their 19th appearance, tying them with the St. Louis Cardinals, but never since winning their last title in 1988 - an extended 29-year drought. The Astros for their part had been there once, in 2005, when they represented the NL, but had never won the whole shebang. They were the first team to represent both leagues in the Series. It was also the first match-up at that level of two teams with 100 or more wins each since the 1970 World Series. Both the Astros and the Dodgers had led their respective leads at the All-Star break, and while they had both encountered hiccups since, their presence at the final ball was no freak. The Dodgers had cruised through the postseason thus far, winning 7 of 8 games, but the Astros had needed to dig deep into their reserves to dispose of a pesky New York Yankees team in seven games in the ALCS.

It was one of the most exciting World Series ever, going the full seven games before the Astros secured their first-ever title. It featured both the quickest game in ages - Game 1 - and the second-longest (Game 6). There were two extra-inning thrillers, a huge number of lead changes, a record number of home runs hit, 25, 15 of them by Houston, and some very unusual bullpen usage leading to a lot of second-guessing of the managers. No game was decided by more than four runs, and five of them by two runs or fewer, an indication of how closely played all of the game were. Following another series that had been hugely entertaining, it again demonstrated how great baseball could be when played at its best, and television ratings were very good.

The Teams[edit]

Dodgers

Astros

Umpires[edit]

Mark Wegner served as a replay official for Games 1 and 2 before switching roles with Phil Cuzzi. Tripp Gibson was the second replay official during the series.

Series results[edit]

Game Score Date Pitchers Time (ET)
1 Houston Astros 1 Los Angeles Dodgers 3 October 24 Dallas Keuchel (0-1) Clayton Kershaw (1-0) 8:00 pm
2 Houston Astros 7 Los Angeles Dodgers 6 October 25 Justin Verlander (0-0) Rich Hill (0-0) 8:00 pm
3 Los Angeles Dodgers 3 Houston Astros 5 October 27 Yu Darvish (0-1) Lance McCullers (1-0) 8:00 pm
4 Los Angeles Dodgers 6 Houston Astros 2 October 28 Alex Wood (0-0) Charlie Morton (0-0) 8:00 pm
5 Los Angeles Dodgers 12 Houston Astros 13 October 29 Clayton Kershaw (1-0) Dallas Keuchel (0-1) 8:00 pm
6 Houston Astros 1 Los Angeles Dodgers 3 October 31 Justin Verlander (0-1) Rich Hill (0-0) 8:00 pm
7 Houston Astros 5 Los Angeles Dodgers 1 November 1 Lance McCullers (1-0) Yu Darvish (0-2) 8:00 pm

Results[edit]

Game 1 @ Dodger Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Astros 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Dodgers 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 6 0
WP: Clayton Kershaw (1-0); LP: Dallas Keuchel (0-1); SV: Kenley Jansen (1)
Home Runs: LA - Chris Taylor (1), Justin Turner (1); HOU - Alex Bregman (1)
  • Attendance: 54,253

Game 1 was played in unseasonably warm weather at Dodger Stadium, with temperature at game time at 103 degrees, something rarely seen even at the height of summer in the temperate southern California climate and the highest thermometer reading ever recorded in a World Series. The game featured a match-up of former Cy Young Award winners with Clayton Kershaw facing off against Dallas Keuchel. There were no surprises in the starting line-ups, as both managers went with the players that had started their respective final games in the League Championship Series, although the Dodgers were able to insert Corey Seager back at SS after he had missed the NLCS because of a sore back. It was a pitching-dominated game, with just four runs scored, all coming on homers, and the Dodgers ended up on top, 3-1. The game was also played at a remarkably brisk pace, in just 2 hours and 28 minutes, the quickest World Series game since Game 2 of 1992, a far cry from recent postseason games that had on average taken an hour longer to unfold.

Kershaw immediately showed that he meant business by making quick work of the Astros in the top of the 1st. However, Keuchel's first pitch to Dodgers lead-off hitter Chris Taylor was smack in the middle of the plate and Taylor did not miss it, driving it almost 450 feet deep to left-center for a no-doubt home run. He was the fourth player to lead off a World Series for his team with a homer, following Don Buford in 1970, Dustin Pedroia in 2007 and Alcides Escobar in 2015; all three before him had also done so at home. But Keuchel recovered well after that initial mistake, retiring the next three batters. Kershaw continued to be dominant in subsequent innings, making just one mistake over 7 innings of work, when he gave up a lead-off homer to Alex Bregman in the 3rd, which briefly tied the game. He gave up just 3 hits, walked none, and struck out 11 batters in an absolutely dominant performance. He needed just 83 pitches to make it through those seven innings and could easily have come back to pitch the 8th, but manager Dave Roberts was confident that his bullpen could finish things, and he was right. For his part, Keuchel settled down for a while after the 1st, helped by a defence that turned three double plays behind him, wiping out every single Dodgers baserunner in that span.

The game was decided in the 6th. After another perfect inning by Kershaw, Keuchel began things well by getting Austin Barnes and Kershaw on ground balls. However, he walked Taylor - his only walk of the game - and then Justin Turner continued his clutch performance in the postseason by belting a pitch just behind the fence in left center for a two-run homer. The Dodgers were up, 3-1, and it was all the runs they would need. With that hit, Turner tied a Dodgers franchise record held by Duke Snider with 26 postseason RBIs (although the Duke's all came in the World Series). Keuchel continued pitching in the 7th but was removed after giving up a two-out single to Seager. Apart from the two long balls, he had been just about as good as Kershaw, albeit not so dominant, as he had recorded just three strikeouts, his favorite weapon being the weak ground ball. Brad Peacock relieved him, and after walking Logan Forsythe, he got Barnes to fly out to center to end the inning. The relievers were just as good as the starters, as Brandon Morrow retired the Astros in order in the 8th, and Chris Devenski did the same against the Dodgers in the 8th, a positive development for manager A.J. Hinch as his best set-up man had been shaky in his previous appearances this postseason. Kenley Jansen, the co-leader in saves in the National League this year, came out for the 9th and did was he does best, getting the Astros in order to end the game. The good work by Morrow and Jansen extended the Dodgers' bullpen's scoreless streak to a record 30 2/3 innings.

In one quirky note about this game, every single player used with the exception of pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran for Houston, was making his World Series debut. There were in fact only two other eligible players with previous World Series experience: Astros Game 2 starter Justin Verlander and Dodgers back-up infielder Chase Utley, neither of who saw action today. One had to go back to the 1906 World Series to see so few players with previous World Series experience appear in a Fall Classic.

Game 2 @ Dodger Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Astros 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 2 7 14 1
Dodgers 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 2 1 6 5 0
WP: Chris Devenski (1-0); LP: Brandon McCarthy (0-1)
Home Runs: LA - Joc Pederson (1), Corey Seager (1), Yasiel Puig (1), Charlie Culberson (1); HOU - Marwin Gonzalez (1), Jose Altuve (1), Carlos Correa (1), George Springer (1)
  • Attendance: 54,293

The Astros won the first World Series game in their history when they ended up on top in an 11-inning battle in Game 2, a game which featured a record eight homers. Facing a righthander on the mound in the person of Justin Verlander, manager Dave Roberts adjusted the Dodgers' starting line-up, with LF Joc Pederson taking over for Kiké Hernandez and veteran Chase Utley manning second base in place of Logan Forsythe. 37-year-old veteran Rich Hill was on the mound, capping a remarkable career arc that had seen him fall all the way to independent ball as recently as 2015 before his resurrection. For their part, the Astros had the same starting line-up as in Game 1.

Hill took a couple of batters to find his groove in the 1st, as a number of his pitches to lead-off hitter George Springer were well off the plate, resulting in a walk. He had a 3-1 count on Alex Bregman, with a couple of pitches missing badly again, when the young third baseman popped a ball just behind the plate. C Austin Barnes had a bit of trouble, falling over backwards in making the catch, but that out seemed to set things right for Hill. He struck out Jose Altuve on three pitches and got Carlos Correa to fly out to right, stranding Springer on first base. Meanwhile, Verlander was absolutely superb for Houston, breezing through the first three innings without allowing a baserunner; in fact, the closest the Dodgers came to a hit was when Hill laid a bunt down the first base line with two outs in the 3rd and came close to beating it out. That came after the Astros had broken through for a run in the top of the 3rd, but they should have scored more. Josh Reddick led off the inning with a sharp grounder that eluded Utley at second; it was ruled a hit, but could easily have been an error. Verlander followed by executing a nice sacrifice bunt, then Springer singled to left. The ball was hit so hard that it was immediately in Pederson's glove and Reddick had no chance of moving further than third base. Next up was Bregman, and he hit a ball that CF Chris Taylor dove for but could not catch; it seemed destined to roll to the fence for extra bases, but in an incredible turn of luck, the ball bounced off the turf, hit the bill of his cap and deflected straight to Pederson. Reddick scored easily, but Springer had to stop at second and Bregman only had a single. Given a reprieve, Hill then struck out Altuve and Correa, getting out of the inning with only minimal damage, trailing 1-0.

The Astros threatened to add a run in the 4th when Yuli Gurriel drew a lead-off walk and advanced to second when a sidearm pitch by Hill escaped C Barnes for a passed ball. But Hill got Brian McCann to fly out to right, allowing RF Yasiel Puig to display his tremendous arm by gunning a laser to the cut-off man, stamping out any thought Gurriel may have had of taking third, then struck out Marwin Gonzalez. Roberts ordered an intentional walk to Reddick, bringing up Verlander, who struck out on three pitches. The Dodgers finally got their first baserunner when Taylor drew a lead-off walk in the bottom of the 4th, but he was forced out by Corey Seager, and Justin Turner followed with a double play grounder. In the 5th, Roberts made a fateful decision, deciding to call on his bullpen early, even though Hill had just thrown 60 pitches and argued in the dugout that he was good to continue. So Kenta Maeda came out, and in the immediate the decision paid off as he reeled off a 1-2-3 inning. Then with two outs in the bottom of the frame, Pederson got the Dodgers' first hit and it was a long one, a no-doubt homer to right center that tied the score at 1 each. In the top of the 6th, Correa led off with a single, then Gurriel hit a pop-up for the first out. Roberts then decided to play the match-up game facing lefthanded-hitting C McCann, calling on lefty Tony Watson figuring that A.J. Hinch would not want to take his starting catcher out of the game that early. The strategy worked perfectly, as on Watson's first pitch, McCann grounded into an inning-ending double play. Roberts had not made a double switch, however, so when Watson's turn to bat came up with one out in the bottom of the 6th, he used a pinch-hitter, Andre Ethier, who flied out for the second out. But then, in an eerie déjà vu scene from Game 1, Taylor drew a walk and the next batter, Seager, followed by hitting an outside pitch to the opposite field just behind the fence for two runs. The Astros were stunned, having seen a beautiful performance by Verlander turn into a 3-1 deficit with only three turns at bat to go.

Roberts tried to save his two best relievers remaining for later as the 7th inning started by having Ross Stripling start the inning, but he walked Gonzalez on four pitches, prompting another pitching change. Brandon Morrow was summoned from the bullpen, and, Tony Watson-like, he got Reddick to ground into a double play that was scored an unusual 5-6-3 because of a defensive shift. With Verlander coming up, Hinch decided he needed to get something started offensively and replaced him by pinch-hitter Evan Gattis, who singled to right. But Springer was unable to continue the inning, as he grounded to SS Seager for an inning-ending force. The Astros now had six outs remaining, and were still down by two runs. Will Harris, who had struggled thus far in the postseason, came out with the mission of not letting the Dodgers add any more runs, and his mission immediately became harder when 1B Gurriel dropped a relay throw from 3B Bregman to allow lead-off batter Cody Bellinger to reach on an error. Harris then threw a wild pitch, moving Bellinger to second, and he went to third on a ground out by Puig. But Harris managed to strike out Pederson and Barnes to prevent Bellinger from scoring.

Having survived a scare, the Astros got to work on closing the gap in the top of the 8th. Bregman led off the inning with an automatic double that just escaped a diving Puig's grasp in right field. Roberts decided to pull a double switch at that point, bringing in closer Kenley Jansen, asking him for a six-out save. He got Altuve to hit a high chopper that resulted in a out, but also moved Bregman to third, from where he scored on a single by Correa to cut the lead to 3-2. It was the first run allowed by Los Angeles' bullpen all postseason - but it wouldn't be the last one in this game. However, Jansen then retired Gurriel and McCann to end the inning. Joe Musgrove took over on the mound for Houston in the bottom of the 8th and retired the Dodgers in order, setting the scene for Jansen's second inning of work with a one-run lead and the bottom of the Astros' order coming up. He got two trikes on Gonzalez, but the super utility man then got a good swing on his third pitch and drove it on a line drive to the stands in the opposite field to tie the score. Jansen retired the next two batters, but Springer then hit a two-out double on a full count, putting the potential winning run in scoring position. Jansen had just enough left to get Bregman to ground out, but the Dodgers had seen an apparent sure victory escape their grasp. Ken Giles came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th, and he retired L.A. in order to force extra innings.

If the regulation innings were closely fought, the extra innings became a slugfest, with both teams having used the front-line and rested members of their bullpen already, and having to turn to alternative options that did not work as well. Jansen was done after working three innings in two days, so Josh Fields was summoned to pitch against this former team, but he allowed back-to-back homers to the first two men he faced, Altuve and Correa, the latter performing a huge bat flip to celebrate an equally huge blast. Gurriel then hit a double and the Astros were threatening to completely run away with the game. Roberts stopped the bleeding by making a double switch and juggling his defensive alignment, bringing in Tony Cingrani to pitch, taking Bellinger's spot in the order, with Barnes moving from C to 2B, 2B Forsythe who had entered the game earlier as a defensive replacement, moving to 1B, and Yasmani Grandal coming in to catch. The moves smacked of desperation, but they worked: McCann flied out, Gonzalez was issued an intentional walk, and Reddick grounded into a double play. Trailing 5-3, the Dodgers then got to work. Puig hit a lead-off homer off Giles to narrow the lead to one run, and after strikeouts by Barnes and Grandal, Forsythe drew a walk. A tiring Giles then unloaded a wild pitch and Hernandez, who had come in on an earlier double switch, singled to right, driving Forsythe in on a very close play at the plate and taking second on the throw. It was now Hinch's turn to make a double switch with a runner in scoring position, with Chris Devenski replacing Giles and Cameron Maybin moving to the outfield. Devenski got Taylor to fly out, forcing an 11th inning. Roberts made some more changes, with Brandon McCarthy, who hadn't appeared in a game since the regular season, coming to pitch and Charlie Culberson coming in to play left field, with Henriquez taking over for Taylor in center. The Dodgers' defence was a real patchwork concoction by that point, but that's what it took to ensure McCarthy would not need to bat in a critical situation immediately. He lost no time in putting himself in trouble, though, by allowing a single to Maybin, who then stole second. Springer then hit another homer, this one right-center, and the Astros once again had a two-run lead, 7 to 5. McCarthy retired the next three batters, but the Dodgers had their work cut out for them, needing another miraculous comeback from two runs down. Devenski retired the first two batters, but Culberson continued his postseason heroics by pulling a ball into the stands for the eighth homer of the game, beating the previous record of 7 set in Game 3 of the 1989 World Series. However, Devenski ended the epic and crazy game by striking out Puig on a full count, giving Houston its historic win and moving the two teams to Houston tied at one win apiece. The five homers in extra innings were a major league record, not just for a postseason game, but for any game, regular season or postseason.

Game 3 @ Minute Maid Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dodgers 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 4 2
Astros 0 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 x 5 12 0
WP: Lance McCullers (1-0); LP: Yu Darvish (0-1); SV: Brad Peacock (1)
Home Runs: HOU - Yuli Gurriel (1)
  • Attendance: 43,282

The Astros won Game 3 at home, 5-3, by teeing off against Dodgers starter Yu Darvish for 4 runs in the 2nd inning and having pitchers Lance McCullers and Brad Peacock combine for a great performance, limiting Los Angeles to 4 hits. The game could easily have been a blow-out win for Houston, though, as they stranded 12 baserunners, including 3 in the 8th when George Springer hit a ball to the deepest part of Minute Maid Park to end the inning with the bases loaded. With the DH now in effect, manager Dave Roberts calls on Joc Pederson to fill the role, with Kiké Hernandez in left, while A.J. Hinch had Evan Gattis as his additional hitter, his line-up being otherwise unchanged.

McCullers started the game strong, retiring the Dodgers in order in the top of the 1st, but it was not the case for Darvish. Springer led off the bottom of the inning by driving a ball to the gap in right-center, and it rolled to the wall for a double. However, after a long battle, Alex Bregman hit a grounder to third and Springer was unable to advance, which proved key as the next hitter, Jose Altuve, hit a fly ball to deep center, on which Springer would have scored easily had he been on third base. He did advance to third, but was stranded when Carlos Correa ended the frame with another ground ball. In the top of the 2nd, Logan Forsythe hit a single with two outs then stole second, but Austin Barnes grounded out. The Astros then went to work, as the bottom of the 2nd felt like batting practice: every ball was hit on the nose, as Darvish was unable to make any good pitches. Yuli Gurriel started things off with a solo homer to deep left, and Josh Reddick followed with a double. After a walk to Gattis, Marwin Gonzalez followed with a ball that hit the fence on the fly in left, just above Hernandez's glove. Reddick scored easily, but it was only a single, as the slow-moving Gattis hesitated waiting to see if the ball would be caught and then stopped at second base. Roberts had no choice but to start warming up a reliever. Brian McCann was up next, and he lined a single to right, scoring Gattis to make it 3-0 with Gonzalez taking third. Springer then hit a sharp line drive, but straight at 2B Forsythe for the first out. Bregman then hit another line drive, straight at CF Chris Taylor, but Gonzalez still broke for home and made it safely as Taylor's throw was off-line. Altuve then drove a pitch to about the same spot where Gonzalez had hit one a few batters earlier, and it was good for a double. That was the end for Darvish, his start being the worst of his career, in terms of fewest outs recorded and the first time he had failed to record a single strikeout. Worst, there had been only two swing-and-misses, one of them when Gonzalez had faked a bunt... Kenta Maeda came out and ended the bloodshed by getting Correa to hit a soft fly to right. The Dodgers' bullpen now faced a long night of work though.

Los Angeles almost came back into the game in the top of the 3rd as, after having sat down for a long time while his teammates were lighting up the scoreboard, McCullers seemed to have lost the plate. He issued back-to-back-to-back walks, to Pederson, Henrnandez and Taylor, loading the bases with no one out. With the bullpen starting its activity, he recovered by getting Corey Seager to hit a grounder to Gurriel at first, who made a nice play to start a 3-6-1 double play, with McCullers barely beating Seager to the bag. Pederson scored, but that play was crucial, as it scotched a potential big inning. McCullers then forced a grounder by Justin Turner, and the inning ended with a 4-1 Houston lead. The Dodgers had another chance in the 4th when with one out, Yasiel Puig drove a ground ball past 3B Bregman, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double, as he hesitated rounding first before ill-advisedly deciding to try for an extra base. Maeda did some good work by getting through the 3rd and 4th with little damage. Being a career starter, he could likely have pitched for a while, sparing his teammates, but Roberts had other ideas. After Maeda retired Correa to start the bottom of the 5th, he was replaced by Tony Watson. He got Gurriel to ground out, but Reddick singled and Gattis hit a ball between the mound and third base. Even with his lack of speed, he would likely have been safe at first, as it was the equivalent of a well-placed bunt, but Watson attempted a desperate throw to first base. It was well off target, ending up in right field, and Reddick ran all the way home to increase the lead to 5-1.

In the top of the 6th, the Dodgers managed to make the game close again by being very opportunistic. Seager led things off by drawing a walk and Turner followed with a double to the left field corner. Cody Bellinger was next up and Hinch let McCullers face him, as he had already struck him out twice in the game. He continued his mastery over the rookie by having him flail at three pitches, then Peacock took over. He got Puig to ground out to second, but Seager scored and Turner went to third, and while facing pinch-hitter Chase Utley, one of his pitches bounced on the plate and went through C McCann's legs to the backstop as Turner scored easily. It was now 5-3, the Dodgers having managed their three runs on only four hits. Roberts faced a decision, though. Watson on the mound was used to just very short stints, and he still needed to get through at least three innings - four if the Dodgers were to come back and win the game. He could have called on one of his long relievers - Ross Stripling or Brandon McCarthy - to go as long as possible, but instead decided to continue with his front-line short relievers. So Watson was removed after recording the first out of the bottom of the 6th and Brandon Morrow got the last two, but not before allowing two more baserunners, on an error by 3B Turner and a walk. In marked contrast, Hinch had decided that he trusted Peacock and would let him carry the team as far as possible. It turned out to be a wise decision.

Peacock breezed through the top of the 7th, with just a two-out walk to pinch-hitter Andre Ethier. Roberts had also used Yasmani Grandal as a pinch-hitter earlier that inning, so he was down to one bench player, and dug deep into his bullpen as well when trouble brewed in the bottom of the inning. Gurriel led things off with a double to the left field corner, a ball just slightly less deep than his earlier homer. Roberts now pulled Morrow and replaced him with Tony Cingrani, another short-stint specialist. Reddick tried to surprise the defence with a bunt, and it almost worked as it took a magnificent diving play by 1B Bellinger to snag the ball an inch off the grass. He then gave Gattis an intentional walk, the burly free-swinging slugger's third free pass of the game, and got Gonzalez to pop out for an infield fly. But McCann hit a ground ball to the left of Bellinger, who made a nice play to dive and keep it from reaching the outfield, but everyone was safe on an infield single, and the bases were now loaded. With righty Springer coming up, Roberts made yet another pitching change, calling on Stripling, who had walked the only batter he had faced in Game 2 on four pitches. Roberts had few options by now, as he certainly was not going to call in closer Kenley Jansen with a two-run deficit in the 7th, and the only other non-crazy possibilities, McCarthy and Josh Fields, had both been lit up in the previous game. So Stripling missed with his first two pitches, Springer fouled the third and then lit into the next one. He was certain it was going out, and so was everyone in the ballpark, but it was hit to the deepest part of the field and CF Taylor caught it just in front of the fence. Statcast showed that a ball hit that hard with that launch angle had been a hit every single time it had happened during the regular season, with all the hits being homers except one double against the fence. In effect, it was a miracle that the Dodgers had managed to escape without the ball going for a grand slam.

Meanwhile, Peacock was in a groove. He retired the Dodgers in order in the top of the 8th, only the second 1-2-3 inning of the game after McCullers' perfect 1st three hours earlier. Stripling managed to find his own mojo and got through the Astros' line-up in the 8th with only a two-out single to Correa, who became the 12th runner left on base. With a two-run lead in the 9th, Hinch decided to repeat the move that had served him well in winning Game 7 of the ALCS: letting a pitcher who was normally a starter and who was having a dominant turn on the mound complete a save that was unfathomably long by the standards of 21st century baseball. However, such saves were common until the 1980s, and what McCullers had done for Charlie Morton in the ALCS, Peacock did for McCullers in this game. With no one even warming up in the bullpen, Peacock struck out Puig, got Utley to ground out back to him, then after an eight-pitch battle, got Grandal to fly out weakly to Reddick in right field. The Astros had a two games to one lead, and the Dodgers would now have to win at least one of the next two games in Houston with an overused and tired bullpen that had been asked to go 13 1/3 innings over two games.

After the game, Gurriel was handed a five-game suspension to be served at the start of the 2018 season because, when celebrating his 2nd inning homer in the dugout, he made racially-insensitive gestures directed at Darvish, mimicking slanted eyes and using pejorative language in Spanish. He was ordered to undergo sensitivity training as well.

Game 4 @ Minute Maid Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dodgers 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 6 7 0
Astros 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 2 0
WP: Tony Watson (1-0); LP: Ken Giles (0-1)
Home Runs: HOU - George Springer (2), Alex Bregman (2); LA - Joc Pederson (2)
  • Attendance: 43,322

Game 4 turned out to be a top-notch pitchers' duel, even if both teams had their fourth starters on the mound. The game was still tied 1-1 as the 9th inning started, but a bullpen collapse by the Astros led to 5 runs in that inning, putting the game away as Los Angeles went on to win, 6-2, to tie the series at two wins each. The Astros were limited to two hits the whole game, both solo homers. Cody Bellinger was the offensive hero as he broke out of a Series-long slump with a pair of key doubles, erasing memories of the Golden Sombrero he had been made to wear in Game 3.

In what was definitely not a harbinger of what would take place, Chris Taylor led off the game for the Dodgers with a single to center against Charlie Morton. Morton was not fazed, as he then struck out Corey Seager and got Justin Turner to pop up. With Bellinger at the plate, one of Morton's pitches bounced slightly away from C Brian McCann, Seager attempted to advance and he was gunned down to end the inning. It would be some time before either team managed another hit. Morton's opponent on the mound, Alex Wood, usually a strike-throwing machine, did not have his best control on the night, as his rate of balls to strikes was unusually high, but that did not make it any easier for the Astros to square up his pitches though, Wood was absolutely dominant through the first five innings, not allowing a hit and facing just one batter over the minimum. Carlos Correa walked to lead off the 2nd, but was immediately erased when Yuli Gurriel grounded into a double play, and Marwin Gonzalez drew another walk in the 3rd without advancing further. There were no other baserunners through the first five innings as the two moundsmen were in complete control of things.

The bats finally began to stir in the 6th when Austin Barnes was hit on the wrist by one of Morton's pitches to lead off the top of the frame. Joc Pederson flied out for the first out, but on a full count, Kiké Hernandez singled to right with Barnes running and the Dodgers had runners on the corners. In fact, Barnes was the first player on either team to make it even to second base. Taylor was next up and he hit a grounder to 3B Alex Bregman. Barnes was running on contact and was easily thrown out at the plate to end that threat. In the bottom of the inning, Wood stretched his no-hit bid to 5 and two-thirds innings before George Springer finally broke the spell by driving a pitch into the seats in the left-field corner for a 1-0 Houston lead. The marked the end of the night's work for Wood, who was replaced by Brandon Morrow. The Dodgers replied quickly, though. After one out in the 7th, Bellinger recorded his first hit of the Series by driving a ball to the nook in the fence in left field, the strange configuration of the outfield wall there preventing LF Gonzalez from attempting a play. Bellinger ended up on second with a double and was absolutely elated to have that monkey off his back. Like Springer's hit had been the signal to Dave Roberts to change pitchers, so was this hit the cue that A.J. Hinch needed to bring in a reliever, in this case Will Harris. He got Yasiel Puig to line out to right, Bellinger staying put at second base, but Logan Forsythe followed with a sharply-hit single to right and Bellinger scored easily, tying the game. Thus neither of the two starters who had been masterful would figure in the decision.

Both Morrow in the 7th and Tony Watson in the 8th for the Dodgers, and Chris Devenski in the 8th for the Astros reeled off 1-2-3 innings. The game thus headed into the top of the 9th tied at 1-1. It was the first time a World Series game was tied at 0 or 1 to start the 9th since the famous Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, when Jack Morris and John Smoltz had battled to a scoreless tie through the first eight innings before the Minnesota Twins had won the contest and title in extra innings. In this case, however, what was a very close game until now quickly unraveled. Closer Ken Giles took over on the mound for the Astros, and he was, to put it bluntly, awful. Seager led off with a single on his first pitch, then Turner drew a walk. Bellinger was next, and he assumed the hero's mantle with another double to left that drove in the go-ahead run and placed two runners in scoring position with none out. That was the end for the ineffective Giles, who gave way to Joe Musgrove, while Charlie Culberson ran for Turner at third base, the later having apparently tweaked his leg earlier in the game. Musgrove had to keep the game close and started well, by striking out Puig. Hinch then ordered an intentional walk to Forsythe to load the bases, but Barnes followed with a fly ball to right, scoring Culberson to make the score, 3-1. It was already bad for Houston, but the dagger was about to be planted in their hearts, and Pederson was the one wielding it. He crushed a high fastball from Musgrove to deep center for a three-run homer, and it was time to close the books. Closer Kenley Jansen had been warming up when the game was still close at the start of the inning, so he went in to complete the work. McCann tried to surprise the Dodgers by laying down a bunt against the defensive shift to start the bottom of the 9th, but SS Seager, who was the only man on the left side of the infield, made a nice play to throw him out at first base. Springer then struck out, but Bregman managed to hit a meaningless solo homer, only his team's second hit of the game, to make the final score 6-2. Jansen then got Altuve to fly out to center and the game was over and the series tied.

Game 5 @ Minute Maid Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Dodgers 3 0 0 1 3 0 1 1 3 0 12 14 1
Astros 0 0 0 4 3 0 4 1 0 1 13 14 1
WP: Joe Musgrove (1-0); LP: Kenley Jansen (0-1)
Home Runs: HOU - Yuli Gurriel (2), Jose Altuve (2), George Springer (3), Carlos Correa (2), Brian McCann (1); LA - Cody Bellinger (1), Yasiel Puig (2)
  • Attendance: 43,300

By the end of Game 5, sportswriters were running out of adjectives to describe another wild game in a completely crazy World Series. "Insane" seemed to be the qualificative of choice, however, for the thriller that lasted 5 hours and 17 minutes before the Astros emerged with a 13-12 victory in 10 innings to move to within one win of winning the whole thing. To say that the game did not go according to script would be a huge understatement: the two Game 1 starters, Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel, were facing each other again, and a low-scoring affair was again expected. However, by the time the Game 1 duration of two and a half hours had elapsed, this game was still in the 5th inning, both starters were gone, and the score was tied at 7 all! It turned out that this was only the mid-way point, too. There was one important change in the starting line-ups, as Justin Turner was still bothered by the leg injury that had forced him to leave Game 4 early, and was moved to DH as a result, with Charlie Culberson starting at second and Logan Forsythe sliding over to third base.

It was clear from the very first pitches that Keuchel was not on a good day. He struggled with his control, missing low on a number of pitches and falling behind in the count. It cost him dearly as Chris Taylor led off the game with a single, then after Corey Seager struck out on a full count, he walked Turner and Kiké Hernandez to load the bases. He got Cody Bellinger to swing at a third strike, but Forsythe followed with a very clutch hit to left. LF Marwin Gonzalez tried to field the ball on a full run in order to attempt to gun down the hobbling Turner at home, but he bobbled the ball, both runners scored and Hernandez made it to third. There was no error, but Gonzalez would have had a good shot at home had he fielded the ball cleanly. Keuchel then surprised Forsythe off first base with a pick-off throw as he was breaking for second. He should have been out easily, but 1B Yuli Gurriel's throw was wide of second base, and by the time 2B Jose Altuve had recovered and tagged Forsythe, he had reached the bag safely, while Hernandez had taken advantage of the wild throw to run home. Yasiel Puig then grounded out on a tapper just in front of home plate to end the inning, but the Dodgers had a quick 3-0 lead as their ace, Kershaw stepped to the mound for the bottom of the 1st. The television commentators quickly reeled off a stat that in his career, Kershaw had been nearly unbeatable when given three or more runs to work with, his record being something like 110-17, so things were looking dire for Houston already. Indeed, he faced the minimum nine batters through the first three innings, giving up just a single to Evan Gattis, who was immediately wiped out on a double play. He looked strong, although he was throwing a lot more balls than usual and had recorded only one strikeout. For his part, Keuchel retired the next six batters.

The next scoring came in the 4th inning, as Forsythe doubled with one out then was driven in by a single by Austin Barnes, increasing the lead to 4-0. When Culberson followed with another single, it spelled the end for Keuchel, who gave way to Luke Gregerson, who recorded the final out of the inning by striking out Taylor. Houston then came alive in the bottom of the inning as Kershaw's control problems worsened suddenly. He issued a lead-off walk to George Springer, then got a three-ball count on Alex Bregman before getting him to fly out. Altuve followed with a single, then Carlos Correa doubled to left, scoring a first run. Gurriel followed by crushing a pitch into left field. Everyone in the ballpark knew it was gone as soon as he made contact and just like that the game was tied at 4-4. A.J. Hinch needed some long relief now, and he asked Collin McHugh to give him a few innings of work, but McHugh had control problems as well. He started the top of the 5th by walking Seager and Turner, then after striking out Hernandez on a very generous call by home plate umpire Bill Miller, whose wide and variable strike zone led to complaints by batters from both teams, he grooved a two-strike fastball to Bellinger who belted it into the right field stands for a 7-4 lead. In spite of his very tough 4th inning, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts let Kershaw come back out again for the bottom of the 5th, and he looked shaky from the start, as Gonzalez flew out to deep left, Brian McCann hit a ball just foul in deep right field before striking out, and Springer drew a walk. But Roberts had not started warming up anyone, so Kershaw faced Bregman, and walked him as well. Roberts now brought in Kenta Maeda to pitch, but in an unfamiliar situation (coming in in the middle of an inning with runners on base), he was ambushed by Altuve who, after hitting a ball to the top of the stands but foul down the left field line, hit a 3-2 pitch to deep center for a no-doubt three-run homer. The game had now lasted for 2 hours and 30 minutes, as long as Game 1 had, but things couldn't be any more different as the 5th inning wasn't yet over, both starting pitchers were gone, and the score was 7-7.

The 6th inning was scoreless as McHugh worked around a one-out walk (the first of the game not to result in a run). Maeda retired one batter before walking Gattis and giving way to Tony Watson who got the next two outs. Roberts was now digging deep into what was already a tired and overworked bullpen, and there were three innings left to play; the Astros weren't in much better shape in terms of bullpen freshness, given their closer, Ken Giles, had lost his manager's confidence with his poor performance the night before. Brad Peacock replaced McHugh in the top of the 7th and he gave up a lead-off double to Turner, but Turner was retired at third when the next batter, Hernandez, hit a comebacker to Peacock who threw to 3B Bregman. However, Bellinger, now officially red hot, followed with a triple to on a ball that rolled under a diving Springer's glove and reached the wall, and Los Angeles was back in the lead, 8-7. Bellinger was stranded on third as Forsythe struck out and Puig flied out. That lead was short-lived too: Springer atoned for his poor play on Bellinger's triple in the top of the inning by leading off the bottom of the 7th with a homer off Brandon Morrow, pitching in his fifth straight game. Bregman followed with a single and scored on a double by Altuve, who then moved to third on a wild pitch. Correa then homered to make the score 11-8, as Morrow had given up four runs without retiring anyone. The plan was originally to rest him this game, but he had told his manager that he was able to come in, something that had been a mistake, he recognized after the game. Tony Cingrani replaced him and retired the next three batters, but the Dodgers were now trailing for the first time in the game. However, this game had not yet run out of comebacks. In the 8th, Peacock allowed a one-out double to Joc Pederson and hit Taylor with a pitch, to give way to Will Harris. As he had done in Game 4, Harris allowed an inherited runner to score, as the first batter he faced, Seager, hit a double, cutting the lead to 11-9, with two runners in scoring position and still just one out. Harris got Turner to line out to right for out number two and Roberts called on Andre Ethier to bat for Hernandez. Hinch replied by bringing in Chris Devenski, now his closer given Giles's demotion. He got Ethier to ground out to first, and Houston had managed to preserve a two-run lead. The Astros then increased it as McCann took Cingrani deep with one out, making the score 12-9 and forcing Roberts to call on yet another reliever, Ross Stripling, to complete the frame. McCann was the 14th different player to homer in the Series, setting a record.

So the Dodgers entered the top of the 9th trailing 12-9, with Devenski on the mound. Things looked pretty hopeless, but Bellinger managed to draw a lead-off walk before Forsythe struck out swinging. Up next was Puig, and he hit the seventh homer of the contest to bring the Dodgers back to within one run with two outs left. That homer was the 22nd of the series, setting a new record - the previous one had been set in seven games in 2002 - and it was likely to increase with this game not over and at least another one left to play. In any case, Barnes followed Puig's long ball with a double, placing the tying run in scoring position and he moved to third on a grounder by Pederson. Taylor represented the Dodgers' last hope, but, down to his last strike, he came through with a ball that pierced the infield and went into center for a single. The crazy game was tied again at 12-all! Devenski retired Seager on a line drive to center, but the Dodgers had survived... for now. Roberts now brought in closer Kenley Jansen, as he was running out of bullpen options. He gave up a two-out double to Gurriel, who was replaced by speedy pinch-runner Cameron Maybin, but Reddick hit a fly ball to Ethier in left field to strand him at second. Extra innings would be needed. Having re-jiggered his defense with Maybin staying in the game and LF Gonzalez moving to 1B, Hinch gave the ball to Joe Musgrove, who had given up the back-breaking homer to Pederson the previous night. He gave up a one-out single to Ethier, but retired the next two batters to keep the game tied. Jansen returned for the bottom of the 10th, and retired the first two batters, then hit McCann with a pitch. Springer then drew a walk to move McCann to second and Hinch called upon another pinch-runner, Derek Fisher, to run for his burly catcher. Bregman was up next and he ended the game with a soft liner to left as Fisher came around to score the winning run. It had taken well over 5 hours to play, the second longest game in World Series history after Game 3 in 2005. In that game, 5 hours and 41 minutes had been needed to play 14 innings and, coincidentally, Houston had been on the losing end of that engagement. The Astros were was now within one win of the championship, though, with the two teams headed back to the west coast. And thankfully, there was a rest day scheduled, as both pitching staffs badly needed to catch their collective breaths.

"Just when I thought I could describe Game 2 as my favorite game of all time, I think Game 5 exceeded that and more." - A.J. Hinch

Game 6 @ Dodger Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Astros 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 0
Dodgers 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 x 3 5 0
WP: Tony Watson (2-0); LP: Justin Verlander (0-1); SV: Kenley Jansen (2)
Home Runs: HOU - George Springer (4); LA - Joc Pederson (3)
  • Attendance: 54,128

The series moved back to Los Angeles for Game 6, with the weather being cooler but now overcast, and a rare drizzling rain fallimg down briefly in the middle innings. The fireworks of Game 5 were also left far behind, as this game was a low-scoring affair which was won by the team that took better advantage of its few scoring opportunities. This was the Dodgers, who scored 3 runs on just 5 hits and stranded only 4 runners, while the Astros wasted a number of good opportunities and scored only once, on a solo homer. Thus, the 3-1 final score meant that there would be a Game 7 for the second consecutive year. On the mound, Rich Hill was facing off against Justin Verlander as the two had in Game 2, and the scenario was quite similar - except for all the late-game craziness that had turned their first encounter into a classic. The Dodgers finally ended the Astros' streak of winning every game in which Verlander had appeared since his acquisition just in time to make him eligible for the postseason on August 31st. Justin Turner was back at his normal third base position for Los Angeles, and there were no other changes to the starting line-ups.

The first couple of innings were quiet, as both starting pitchers faced just seven batters each, with each team stranding one baserunner after a single. Hill then retired the first two batters in the 3rd to complete an excellent first run-through of the Astros' batting order, but he was then surprised by George Springer, who hit his fourth homer of the series by driving a ball to the stands in the opposite field. Verlander added another perfect inning in the bottom of the 3rd, and both pitchers retired the side in order in the 4th.

The Astros had Hill in the ropes in the 5th, but could not unleash the knock-out punch, in a sequence that was key to the final outcome. Brian McCann led off with a single, and Marwin Gonzalez followed with a hit to the left-field corner. A faster baserunner might have attempted to score, but McCann stopped at third and Gonzalez at second. Manager Dave Roberts decided to have Hill face Josh Reddick, wanting to benefit from the lefty-on-lefty match-up, instead of issuing an intentional walk to load the bases. The strategy worked, as Reddick struck out after starting off with a 3-0 count. Verlander was up next; it was clear that he would not be pinch-hit for, but A.J. Hinch also elected not to force the play by calling for a squeeze bunt, so Hill had relatively easy pickings, striking him out as well. The very hot Springer was up next, and now Roberts decided to issue an intentional walk, to face Alex Bregman, but not before calling for a reliever in the person of Brandon Morrow. Morrow had been awful in Game 5, but this time, he needed just two pitches to get Bregman to ground out to shortstop, ending the inning. The Astros would soon regret those three runners left stranded, but now it was a question of whether in winning that battle, Roberts had not put himself in a position to lose the war: he would once again have to ask his tired bullpen for a long stretch of work, with four and a half innings still to play. For his part, Morrow was just the fourth pitcher ever to be used in each of the first six games of a World Series. Verlander then unspooled another perfect inning in the bottom of the 5th.

The 6th inning was when the game was decided. Morrow came back out to pitch for L.A. and after two quick outs, he allowed a single to Yuli Gurriel, who was copiously booed all game because of his stupid gesture directed at Yu Darvish in Game 3. Roberts took out Morrow at that point and brought in lefty Tony Watson to face the left-handed hitting McCann. Watson made things interesting by hitting McCann with a pitch, bringing up Gonzalez with two men on base. In another key at-bat, Watson got Gonzalez to line out to 2B Chase Utley, who had come in the game in a double switch alongside the pitcher, to end the inning with another two runners left on base. L.A.'s bats had been completely muzzled up to that point, but it changed quickly as Austin Barnes led off the bottom of the 6th with a single. Verlander then compounded his trouble when a 2-2 pitch to Utley grazed his foot for a hit batsman. Chris Taylor was up next, and he hit a solid double to right to tie the score and place two men in scoring position with nobody out. Corey Seager then just missed crushing a pitch, hitting it instead to the warning track in right, but RF Reddick caught it with his back to the ball. Both runners advanced easily however, and the Dodgers now had a 2-1 lead. Verlander prevented the Dodgers from cashing in Taylor by getting Turner to pop up and striking out Bellinger, but the tide had turned.

The Astros had another opportunity in the 7th as Reddick led off with a walk against Watson. That prompted Roberts to call on Kenta Maeda, while Hinch sent Evan Gattis to pinch-hit for Verlander. Gattis hit a grounder to second, and the Dodgers attempted to turn a double play but were unable to as Reddick crashed into Utley. This was ironic given that the rule on breaking up potential double plays was known colloquially as the "Chase Utley rule", having been adopted after Utley had upended Ruben Tejada of the New York Mets in the 2015 Division Series, breaking his leg. The Dodgers challenged the validity of Reddick's slide, but it was clear that he had not slid late or deviated from his normal path, so the play was allowed to stand. The Astros could not take advantage of this opportunity either, though, even after Springer followed with a single just out of Seager's reach at shortstop. Hinch brought in Derek Fisher, who had scored the winning run two nights earlier, to run for Gattis, and he advanced to third on Bregman's fly out, but Jose Altuve was unable to come up with a clutch hit, grounding out to third to end the inning and waste a third excellent scoring opportunity in four innings. With Verlander now out of the game, Joe Musgrove came out to pitch the bottom of the 7th, but he found his Game 4 nemesis waiting in ambush, as Joc Pederson took him deep to the opposite field with a one-out solo homer.

With a 3-1 lead, and after having had Andre Ethier pinch-hit for Maeda, Roberts asked his closer Kenley Jansen to get the final six outs. It was do or die for the converted catcher, since it appeared that the Dodgers' only fall-back option, were he to falter, would be to bring in Clayton Kershaw in an unfamiliar role on extremely short rest. It wasn't necessary to resort to such extreme measures, however. Jansen retired the Astros in order in the top of the 8th. The little-used Luke Gregerson and Francisco Liriano kept the Dodgers from adding to their lead in the 8th, although it took a strikeout of Bellinger by Liriano with two men on base on the 9th pitch of the at-bat to ensure that result. For his part, Jansen did not make things that exciting. He got Gonzalez on a pop-up, struck out Reddick, then faced veteran Carlos Beltran, pinch-hitting for Liriano. Three foul balls and a swinging strike ended that at-bat, ensuring that the series would go the limit.

Game 7 @ Dodger Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Astros 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 5 0
Dodgers 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 6 0
WP: Charlie Morton (1-0); LP: Yu Darvish (0-2)
Home Runs: HOU - George Springer (5)
  • Attendance: 54,124

The Astros clinched the first World Series title in their history with a 5-1 win in Game 7. They got off to a large early lead, by once again chasing starter Yu Darvish before the end of the 2nd inning, as they had done in Game 3. While the Dodgers' relievers, highlighted by starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood who combined for six scoreless innings, kept them from adding to their lead, the Dodgers squandered a huge number of baserunners early on and were able to score only once off reliever Charlie Morton in the 6th before he shut them down completely over the final three innings to clinch the victory. Once again, George Springer was at the center of things offensively, secutring himself the Willie Mays Award as the Most Valuable Player of the series.

The Astros jumped on Darvish immediately, as Springer led off the game with a line drive to the left field corner that resulted in a double. Alex Bregman followed on the next pitch by hitting a grounder to the left of 1B Cody Bellinger. He fielded the chopper, but his throw to Darvish, covering first base, was completely wild, and Springer scored while Bregman advanced to second. Just four pitches into the game, the Astros had a lead, and Bregman then upped the pressure by stealing third base without a throw. Jose Altuve then hit another chopper to first. This time Bellinger touched the bag himself, but he could not prevent Bregman from scoring a second run. After a second out, Yuli Gurriel had an epic 13-pitch at-bat against Darvish before flying out to right. Not only did the Astros have a 2-0 lead, but it was also clear that Darvish was again not having a good day. But Lance McCullers, starting for the Astros, was not at his best either. He also gave up a lead-off double, to Chris Taylor, before striking out Corey Seager for the first out. He then hit Justin Turner with a pitch, the first of four hit batsmen for him in his short stint on the mound. He soon demonstrated a very clear pattern: he was dominating lefty hitters with a devastating curveball, which Bellinger also swung at and missed like Seager had done, for the second out, but had all sorts of trouble against righties. Thus, he plunked Yasiel Puig too to load the bases, but Joc Pederson grounded out to Altuve at second, and the Dodgers had wasted a huge opportunity to reduce the lead.

In the 2nd inning, the Astros finished the job against a shaky Darvish. Brian McCann led things off by drawing a walk after falling behind, 0-2. Marwin Gonzalez followed with a double, moving McCann to third, as the Astros now had the exact same situation they had faced in the 4th inning of Game 6 against Rich Hill but on which they had been unable to capitalize, which may be why Dave Roberts showed unusual patience with his struggling starter. Darvish got Josh Reddick to ground out to first base and the runners did not move, bringing up McCullers. He did not bunt, but helped his own cause immensely by tapping a slow grounder towards second base which was the next best thing to a bunt. Even the slow-moving McCann could score on that, and while McCullers was out at first, he had driven in a very important run. It seemed now clear that Roberts would issue an intentional walk to Springer, who was the Astros' hottest hitter since getting over his Game 1 struggles, but he decided to face him and, moreover, to leave Darvish on the mound to do so. This was clearly the wrong decision. On a full count. Springer drove a pitch into the stands for a two-run homer. Roberts now removed Darvish, bringing Brandon Morrow, who became the second pitcher aver Darold Knowles in the 1973 World Series to pitch in all seven games of a World Series. Morrow struck out Bregman on three pitches, but the damage had been done: Houston led 5-0.

The Dodgers wasted another chance to get closer in the bottom of the 2nd, as McCullers was still having trouble locating his pitches. Logan Forsythe led off with a single and moved to second on a grounder by Austin Barnes. Morrow was up next, and he was replaced by pinch-hitter Kiké Hernandez, who became McCullers' third hit-by-pitch victim, being grazed by a pitch that would otherwise have been ball four. Taylor was up next, but in one of the key turning points of the game, he hit a line drive on the first pitch straight at SS Carlos Correa who tossed the ball to Altuve to double off Forsythe and end the inning. Los Angeles had been unable to score any of its five baserunners, in marked contrast to Houston who had cashed in all five. Those two innings would end up deciding the game and the series. Needing someone to stop the Astros in their tracks, Roberts called on Clayton Kershaw to come out to pitch, and it was a good decision. He let him go four innings, allowing him to bat for himself with two outs and no one on in the 4th, and Kershaw gave him everything he could possibly have asked for, allowing just two hits and two walks, both of them intentional, while striking out four. Meanwhile, McCullers continued to be less than sharp. He again put himself in trouble in the 3rd by allowing a single to Seager then plunking Turner for the second time. There was now activity in the bullpen, but McCullers had completely dominated the next batter, Bellinger, every time he had faced him in the series, and it was the case again, as he struck him out swinging. It was the sixth straight K for the rookie first baseman, his awakening in Games 4 and 5 now a distant memory, as he set a new Series record for most strikeouts with 17. Brad Peacock then came in for McCullers, and he got Puig to fly out to center and struck out Joc Pederson to end the inning with two more Dodgers perishing on the bases. Peacock followed with a perfect 4th inning, then in the 5th walked Seager and allowed a single to Turner after one out. Hinch now called on lefty Francisco Liriano to face Bellinger. Liriano had been gathering cobwebs for the first five games but had struck out Bellinger when asked to face him late in Game 6, and this time again he fulfilled his very specific mission, having Bellinger ground into a force out. Chris Devenski then replaced him to face Puig, who flew out for the final out, and the Dodgers could chalk up yet another lost opportunity.

In the 6th inning, Hinch resorted to a tactic that had served him well twice before in this postseason, which was to call on a starting pitcher to preserve a late lead by going multiple innings. The chosen one this time was Morton, following in the footsteps of McCullers in Game 7 of the ALCS and Peacock in Game 4; Collin McHugh had also thrown four scoreless innings to complete Game 3 of the ALCS, but that had been in a lost cause. He did not start off too well, as he also began the 6th inning by putting two runners on, Pederson via single and Forsythe via a walk. He got Barnes to pop out, but Andre Ethier, pinch-hitting for Kershaw, finally managed a hit with a runner in scoring position, his single scoring Pederson. It would be the Dodgers' lone run of the game, however. Morton got out of trouble by striking out Taylor and getting Seager to ground out, and he would be untouchable from that point forward. Roberts asked his closer, Kenley Jansen, to pitch the 7th, as normal bullpen usage had been thrown out the window a long time ago, and Jansen gave him a scoreless frame marred only by a two-out walk of Altuve. Morton was perfect in the bottom of the inning and another starter, Alex Wood, took the mound for L.A. in the 8th, the 32nd reliever used by Roberts, setting a record. He retired the Astros in order, and Morton came back and extended his string of consecutive outs to 8 by doing the same. He led off the top of the 9th by batting for himself and striking out against Wood, a sure sign that he had the full confidence of his manager to end the game with no further assistance from anyone. The next two batters made out, and Morton completed a magnificent outing by striking out pinch-hitter Chase Utley, then getting Taylor and Seager to both ground out. He had retired the final 11 batters in order to nail down the win and the Championship. Since McCullers had not completed five innings, the determination of the winning pitcher was left to the official scorer, who gave the nod to Morton, as he had clearly been the most effective of the four relievers used that night. Springer, with five homers and eight extra-base hits in the series, was the only logical choice for the title of World Series MVP. The five homers tied him with Utley and Reggie Jackson for most in a single series, while he also became the first player to homer in four consecutive games in one series, and to record an extra-base hit in six consecutive games. His 29 total bases were also a series record.

Further Reading[edit]

  • David Adler and Oliver Macklin: "One drought will end in Dodgers-Astros WS: LA seeks first title since '88, while Houston has yet to win it all", mlb.com, October 22, 2017. [1]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "World Series keeps it real with two 100-W teams", mlb.com, October 21, 2017. [2]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "Hollywood innings: HOU-LA World Series begins", mlb.com, October 24, 2017. [3]
  • Steve Gardner: "World Series preview: Why the Dodgers will beat the Astros", USA Today Sports, October 24, 2017. [4]
  • Ken Gurnick: "When facing Astros, LA's focus remains same: Dodgers say World Series opponent won't change game plan", mlb.com, October 22, 2017. [5]
  • Austin Laymance: "Meet the Players: Get to know the Astros", mlb.com, October 24, 2017. [6]
  • Brian McTaggart: "Astros turn attention to 'impressive' Dodgers: AL champs discuss challenge of facing team with Majors' best record", mlb.com, October 22, 2017. [7]
  • Brian McTaggart: "Astros' title 56 seasons in the making: Magical postseason run featured victories over Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers", mlb.com, November 2, 2017. [8]
  • Brian McTaggart and Ken Gurnick: "Houston Strongest! Astros rule the World", mlb.com, November 2, 2017. [9]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Bottoms up: Astros and MVP George Springer complete stunning rise, win World Series", USA Today Sports, November 2, 2017. [10]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "No apologies needed as amazing Astros crash the World Series: 'We spoiled the party'", USA Today Sports, October 22, 2017. [11]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Cellar to stellar: How the Astros climbed from 111 losses to the World Series", USA Today Sports, October 22, 2017. [12]
  • A.J. Perez: "Houston Strong: Astros deliver first World Series championship to post-hurricane Houston", USA Today Sports, November 2, 2017. [13]
  • Mike Petriello: "Astros-Dodgers: WS positional breakdown: First time since 1970 that two 100-win teams meet in Series", mlb.com, October 22, 2017. [14]
  • Joe Posnanski: "Highs, lows of Springer, Bellinger tell Series tale: Astros star shakes off slump, becomes Classic MVP; LA slugger breaks K record", mlb.com, November 2, 2017. [15]
  • Manny Randhawa: "Bullpen of the Series: Dodgers", mlb.com, October 22, 2017. [16]
  • Chad Thornburg and Matt Kelly: "Meet the Players: Get to know the Dodgers", mlb.com, October 24, 2017. [17]
  • USA Today Sports: "World Series: Four facts that make the Astros-Dodgers clash historic", USA Today, October 22, 2017. [18]

Related Sites[edit]


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NL Wild Card Game Diamondbacks over Rockies (1-0)

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