LOS ANGELES, Calif-What a difference a day makes. Last night in Game 1, George Springer had four strikeouts in four at-bats. Tonight, a different story.
In the 11th inning, Springer smoked a two-run home run to give Houston the lead again. On the night, Springer was 3-for-5 with two RBI. He talked about the win. “It’s huge, for us to come into a tough place to play and play a very, very, very good team and split is absolutely huge. For us to be going home to our environment, to our crowd, is huge to have it tied up at one.”
As for the big hit. “Was fortunate enough to hit the ball well. And get the job done,” added Springer.
If extra innings were not exciting enough, Charlie Culberson smashed a solo home run to bring the game to within a run. Unfortunately, that would be the only run in the bottom of the 11th as the Astros took a 7-6 win and tied the series at 1-1.
Jose Altuve proved why he is an MVP candidate again. Entering the tenth inning tied 3-3 he launched a solo home run to give the Astros a 4-3 lead. Not finished in the inning, Carlos Correa hit a solo home run to extend the lead 5-3. This marks the first time in World Series history that there have been back-to-back home runs hit in extra innings.
For Altuve, he now has six home runs this postseason and is tied for eighth-most all-time in a single postseason.
In the bottom of the inning, Yasiel Puig made things very interesting when he blasted a solo home run to bring the Dodgers to within a run at 5-4. With Logan Forsythe in the game on a double switch at second base, Kike Hernandez singled him home to tie the game at 5-5.
After losing the first game of the 2017 World Series 3-1 to the Dodgers, the Astros turned to veteran Justin Verlander looking to even the series before headed to Houston for games three-five.
The Astros struck first, scoring in the third inning. A key play was the sacrifice bunt by Verlander advancing Josh Reddick to second base. He then scored on a single by Alex Bregman.
Los Angeles’ Rich Hill only lasted four innings allowing just the one run on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts on a mere 60 total pitches. Manager Dave Roberts has indicated he doesn’t want Hill to face a lineup for a third time, hence the quick trigger.
Verlander pitched like he has since being acquired by Houston, in dominating fashion. He didn’t allow a run or hit until two outs in the fifth inning when Joc Pederson tagged him for a solo home run to tie the game. The shutout and no-hitter were gone on one pitch. His line six innings, three runs, two hits, two walks, and five strikeouts on a total of 79 pitches. Verlander talked about being pulled after just six innings. “I wasn’t upset. Going into that inning if I don’t give up that two-out walk, and then the subsequent home run, I probably hit for myself and would stay in the game. But when you need offense, as is the National League, especially the swings I took the at-bats before that, I kind of expected that.”
As for the heat and effect on the ball flying out. “Yeah, I think the heat affected the home runs. I think Dodger Stadium is pretty famous for at night the ball not carrying. Doesn’t seem like the case the last couple of nights,” added Verlander.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, things started to take a turn. Los Angeles was at it again with Chris Taylor worked the count for a walk. Corey Seager hit a home run, his first of the postseason, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 advantage.
On the night, Verlander made only two mistakes. The Dodgers could only muster two hits off him, however, they both left the yard.
In the eighth, the Astros just finally got to Kenley Jansen for a run, snapping 28 consecutive scoreless innings by the Dodgers bullpen. Bregman doubled and scored on a Carlos Correa single, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
Marwin Gonzalez took matters into his own hands in the ninth inning when he blasted a solo home run to left-center tying the game 3-3. It was the first blown save for Jansen in the postseason, previously converting 12-for-12 coming into tonight.
Gonzalez became the 10th player in World Series history to hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning, and first, since Kansas City Royals Alex Gordon did that in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series.
In many ways, it was four guys, with four swings that changed the series. Houston’s manager A.J. Hinch spoke about it. “No doubt. There were some homers on their end too. This was a night obviously the ball was carrying. A lot of big-time players stepping up and getting big swings. I’m just glad the last out, we got to it. This was a hard game to finish, obviously, for both teams. And some really, really key hits that honestly it’s hard not to put into one game, let alone one series.”
Tonight was a special night for the Astros organization. It marked the first World Series victory in the franchise. Hinch reflected on that. “I feel like a record-setter tonight and I want to break my own record.” There are now only three teams without a World Series victory Seattle, Washington, and Colorado.
This marks the 59th time that a Fall Classic has been tied at one game apiece. Of the previous 58 times, the winner of Game 2 has gone on to capture the series 30 times, that’s 51.8 percent. However, that has been the case on just three of the last eleven occasions since 1993. The last time was in 2016 with the Chicago Cubs.
Through the first two games, a total of 17 runs have been scored combined, and 14 have come from the home run.
Next up is game three of the Fall Classic as the World Series shifts to Houston at Minute Maid Park on Friday. The Astros will send Lance McCullers Jr. and the Dodgers counter with Yu Darvish. First pitch is scheduled for 7:09pm CST.