This was the ultimate. This was the absolute, OMG, wake grandpa the house is on fire, barn burner (the barn is on fire too) of a 7-6, eleventh inning Astros come from behind, fall from ahead, surge back ahead, hang on to your seats, see-saw win.
The Astros had started the Red Sox series with two identical 8-2 victories. They then started the Yankees series with two identical 2-1 victories. Seven innings into the second game, it appeared the Astros were going to start the Dodgers’ series with two discouraging 3-1 losses.
These two games were eerily the same, until they weren’t. Dallas Keuchel had pitched very well giving up a first pitch HR to Chris Taylor and then later in the game followed a sixth inning two out walk by allowing a Justin Turner 2 run homer that broke a 1-1 tie. Wednesday night, Justin Verlander was even better, but gave up a solo home run to Joc Pederson in the fifth and after a sixth inning two out walk, allowed a 2 run homer to Corey Seager to break a 1-1 tie.
Entering the eighth inning the Astros appeared dead for the game and perhaps for the series. They had unsuccessfully shot off their two biggest pitching bullets in Keuchel and Verlander, they were not hitting, they were on the road against the tradition rich Vin Scully Dodgers, they were facing a bullpen that had a post season 28 inning scoreless streak going, they had never in 56 seasons won a World Series (brought to you by Youtube TV) game, and they had blown with the help of an unlucky bounce off of Taylor’s cap a chance to put up two or three runs early in the game.
Writer’s questions. What the heck is Taylor’s cap made out of? Did anyone think a baseball could change direction like that hitting a cap? Did anyone watching live doubt that ball bounced off his forehead instead?
But this is not your mama’s Astros. All season long they played games where they wandered around looking lost, only to come alive late in the game to win. In the playoffs they had won against ace Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel and ace Red Sox ace Chris Sale. They tore apart Yankees set-up man David Robertson, who had put up a regular season 1.00 ERA with the Yanks. They beat Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman and his 103 mph fastball.
In this game they started their rally in the 8th inning with an Alex Bregman double off of nails set-up man Brandon Morrow (and off of Yasiel Puig‘s glove). Carlos Correa knocked in Bregman against premier closer Kenley Jansen to draw within 3-2. Jansen had blown only one save all season. He had set a record by starting his postseason career with 12 scoreless appearances in a row. All of this would turn to dust when Marwin Gonzalez, who had been absolutely putrid (Post-season numbers in 46 ABs: .150/.227/.427, no home runs and no RBIs) led off the 9th with the game tying home run.
The insanity continued 1/2 inning by 1/2 inning from that point on.
- Ken Giles almost spit the bit of a 3-3 tie game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when he gave up a long flyball from Cody Bellinger that fell just short of the wall.
- Former Astro Josh Fields came on to pitch the top of the tenth. He has pitched well for the Dodgers this year, but….had given up 10 homers in 57 innings this year. He gave up 2 homers to the first two batters this time as Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa went back-to-back giving the Astros a 5-3 lead. They stranded Yuli Gurriel at second base with no out, which would come back to bite them.
- In the bottom of the 10th Giles felt so confident in his abilities (apparently) that he gave up a leadoff homer to that serial bat licker Yasiel Puig. This backfired when he allowed former Astro Kike Hernandez to slap a 2 out single the other way to tie the score at 5-5. Chris Devenski came on to stop the madness with the third out.
- In the top of the eleventh Cameron Maybin who had come on in a double switch, led off with a single, then stole 2nd only because Corey Seager, who had 2nd blocked off could not handle the throw. George Springer followed with a beautiful home run to right center giving the Astros a 7-5 lead.
- Devo gave up two smoked balls for outs to start the bottom of the 12th. He then gave up a smoked ball into the left field stands by Charlie Culberson, who has 6 career home runs and last hit one in September 2016. He then had a battle royal with Puig, striking him out twice – once on a non-check swing that the umpire was too gutless to call and once swinging on – of course – a change-up. Astros win 7-6.
- This game was reminiscent of another 7-6 extra inning post season game that the Astros did not win. That would be the 1986 NLCS 6th game against the Mets that the Astros lost in 16 innings. In both games the home team was leading late (3-1 this time 3-0 back then), blew a lead in the 9th, had both teams score in and extra inning to extend the game (Billy Hatcher‘s famous foul pole HR) and then the visitors scored in a later extra inning and held on during a home team rally in the bottom of the inning.
- Heroes – This game was full of unlikely heroes. Marwin Gonzalez, who hit a lightning bolt out of a miserable post season. George Springer, who had been 3 of his last 30 in postseason, but in this game had a walk and 3 hits including the game winning home run. Jose Altuve looked terrible striking out twice against Rich Hill, so maybe he was an unlikely hero with his 10th inning HR due to that. Will Harris and Joe Musgrove had been almost on the AWOL list after shaky performances, but they came through here as did Devo, though he was a bit shaky. Alex Bregman knocked in the first run and scored the second and Correa knocked in Bregman and had his big homer in the 10th. And Verlander is my hero even if he didn’t win just for climbing back into the dugout and telling this team that if they kept working it they were going to win after losing the lead in the 10th. He’s a great pitcher too.
- The crazy HR stats.
- In the history of the World Series, which was not always brought to you by Youtube Live there had only been 17 extra inning home runs. There were 5 in this one game.
- The 5 is the most extra inning home runs in any game WS or not, in the history of the game.
- Only once had there ever been two extra inning home runs in the same WS game.
- There had never been 8 home runs in a WS game.
- Altuve and Correa were the first to ever go back to back in extra innings in a WS
- The Dodgers hit two extra inning WS home runs. In their history they had only hit one
- The Dodgers were 98-0 when leading heading into the ninth in 2017.
- Future – The Dodgers had to believe they were going to Houston with a 2-0 stranglehold on the series. The Astros not only swung the home field advantage, they may have the psychological advantage too. Rich Hill was hacked off at his manager Dave Roberts for taking him out early. Perhaps his teammates may be blaming the manager’s early and often use of the bullpen on the loss. Also, the Astros showed that the Blue Men’s bullpen is human too. This was a critical win and the type that could come back around as a hangover for the Dodgers in Houston.