This one, was the greatest of all time. It’s the best World Series game I’ve ever seen, bettering game seven of the 2016 World Series by just a hair. Last night’s game set a record with eight total home runs combined by both teams.
The Astros struck first with a single by Alex Bregman to go up 1-0. Rich Hill wasn’t super sharp, but he was good enough. He struck out seven Astros hitters in four innings and allowed just the single run but was lifted after four innings.
Justin Verlander was his usual untouchable self. The Dodgers got their first hit of the game in the bottom of the fifth, when Joc Pederson homered to tie the game at 1-1.
From there, the Dodgers battled and got a runner on with two out and Corey Seager provided everyone with what should have been a Kirk Gibson 2.0 moment. He hit a 97 MPH Verlander fastball out backside to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead; it felt like the Dodgers were going to go up two games to none on the Astros, delivering a crippling blow by beating the best pitcher in the game. Seager’s home run was just the Dodgers second hit of the game to that point.
It was atypical of Seager – usually a guy who shows little emotion – the second he connected he let out a huge scream of emotion. He knew he got all of it and it was leaving the yard.
Things held that way until later in the game; but all night the theme in my mind was that Dave Roberts mis-managed his pitching staff a little bit. He lifted Rich Hill for Kenta Maeda after four innings. He brought in Ross Stripling who walked a guy on four pitches, then quickly went to Brandon Morrow immediately. These things all set up for Kenley Jansen needing to get six outs for the save after throwing an inning the night before. This is not Kenley Jansen’s typical usage profile.
The Astros would get a double by Alex Bregman on a ball that Yasiel Puig did everything he could to catch. He was just an inch from robbing Bregman and recording the out. Instead, this would lead to a 3-2 score when Carlos Correa singled home Bregman with two outs off Jansen.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jansen left a ball out over the plate to Marwin Gonzalez, and Gonzalez found a way to do the unthinkable. He left the yard. The game was then tied.
In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs; Cody Bellinger hit a ball that I was sure was gone. I leaped off my couch. I told my father ‘he did it! he did it!’ and somehow; Bellinger’s ball didn’t leave the yard. I do not know how it stayed in the park. It would have been one of those all-time World Series moments that won the Dodgers the game. Instead it landed in the glove of the outfielder on the warning track (I think) and Bellinger was quietly double switched out of the game for Josh Fields, former Astro. I knew Fields entrance into the game was not a good thing. About the time I had the thought that this wasn’t the best situation, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa hit back to back home runs off Fields and the Dodgers then trailed 5-3. Full collapse on.
The Dodgers showed their meddle though. They got off the mat and answered the bell in the bottom of the 10th. Yasiel Puig hit an absolute rocket line drive home run off a softened Ken Giles; Giles was working his second inning and was a little shaky in trying to do so. A few batters later, Kike Hernandez would single in Logan Forsythe for a dramatic comeback to tie the game at 5-5. The Dodgers had done it again. But they were out of pitchers, and there was the top of the 11th to play.
Brandon McCarthy quickly worked his way into trouble, and then George Springer came with what felt like the final death blow: a two-run home run to right center. That made it 7-5 Astros.
Once again, the Dodgers refused to just go quietly. They battled for some tough at-bats against Chris Devenski. Charlie Culberson hit a two-out home run – Culberson was the last position players the Dodgers had to use – to make it 7-6. And Yasiel Puig came to the plate with two outs and suddenly felt like the guy you wanted up there if you were a Dodger backer. Puig clearly is playing the best baseball of his life with confidence, spotlight on him, and focus.
Puig battled Devenski to a full count, spoiling seemingly everything he had to claw to the Dodgers final chance. Finally, Puig lost the battle. He swung at a low pitch for the strikeout and the Dodgers had lost the game they had in their closer’s hands and the series is now evened at one game a piece, headed back to Houston for three games with that rabid crowd.
I know without a doubt that I saw greatness last night. I won’t forget the way the Dodgers fought and answered almost every challenge but just came up a hair short. That was one of those games that neither side deserved to lose, and the loss really bothered me much of the day Thursday.
I suddenly am feeling some panic like this series has swung. I feel like the Astros know now that they can absolutely play with these guys and have grabbed the advantage. The Dodgers will have to answer their toughest test yet to become champions – and you wouldn’t want it any other way. But man, to think of what could have been. We’ll think about it forever.
Running list of the absolutely ridiculous things that happened in that game pic.twitter.com/58dq3ax967
— Chris Abshire (@ChrisAbshire) October 26, 2017