For awhile, it appeared Justin Verlander was doomed to the very same fate as Dallas Keuchel the night before. However, the offense arrived in the nick of time with a pair of runs in the late innings to forge a 3-3 tie. Houston scored twice in the tenth but so did the Dodgers. So the Astros scored two more and, this time, Chris Devenski allowed just one to eke past Los Angeles, 7-6, in Game Two of the World Series. That evened the Fall Classic at one win apiece and resets the scene for three games in Houston this weekend and a chance to win it all.
Game 2 had many clutching chests
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The first World Series victory in franchise history did not come easy and looked like it might not come at all. Rich Hill was giving his best Clayton Kershaw impersonation although he was nicked for a run in the third. Josh Reddick singled in the inning and was bunted along by Verlander. George Springer singled but Reddick was held at third. Alex Bregman then dropped a single to center that doinked off Chris Taylor's head and bounced into left. Reddick scored but Hill rallied with a pair of strikeouts on Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa.
Verlander cruised through four no-hit innings before Joc Pederson took him deep in the fifth to tie the score. In the sixth, Taylor walked with two outs before Corey Seager smashed a homer to left which gave the Dodgers the lead. Verlander gave up just two hits for the night but both were homers and both were costly.
Fast forward to the eighth inning when reliever Brandon Morrow gave up a leadoff double to Bregman. Correa singled up the middle against closer Kenley Jansen to cut the deficit to 3-2. That became important when Marwin Gonzalez launched a leadoff homer against Jansen in the ninth that tied the game. Houston closer Ken Giles pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to send the game to extras.
Former Astro Josh Fields entered in the 10th for the Dodgers and immediately gave up a laser by Altuve into the left field seats. Carlos Correa performed the encore with another solo blast into the same section. 5-3 Houston and suddenly prospects were bright.
But Giles allowed a solo homer to Yasiel Puig as the leadoff batter in the last of the 10th and, with one out left to get, Logan Forsythe walked then advanced in a wild pitch. Former Astro Enrique "Kike" Hernandez then spanked a single to right which tied the game again at five.
In the 11th, Brandon McCarthy allowed a single to Cameron Maybin who swiped second. He wouldn't have bothered if he knew Springer was going to drill a bomb into the seats for a 7-5 lead.
Devenski was holding on for dear life in getting the first two outs. Charlie Culberson gave the Dodger partisans one last thrill with a home run and you might have thought he forgot the score the way he trotted the bases like he'd won "Best Actor". He and the Dodgers were still a run shy. That left a final duel between Devenski and Puig. After fouling off several pitches, Puig succumbed to a slider in the dirt to end the game on a strikeout.
The Houston bats came alive for 14 hits on the night with Springer getting three, including the game-winner. The Dodgers managed just five but four of them traveled over the fences, the same as the Astros.
Game Three will be at Minute Maid Park where Lance McCullers, fresh from his masterful Game 7 relief stint, will start the 7:00 pm Central contest on Friday. Astros nemesis Yu Darvish, acquired at mid-season from the Rangers, will get the ball for Los Angeles. Darvish owns a 5-5 record and a 3.44 ERA lifetime against the Astros but made a habit of dominating them his first few years in the majors, including a near no-hitter. Darvish went 4-3 for L.A. but is 2-0 in the postseason.
- Bob Hulsey