The Los Angeles Dodgers took game six by a score of 3-1 tonight, forcing a classic series to the full seven games. The Houston Astros brought a 3-2 series lead into the game, but were unable to capitalize on a strong start from Justin Verlander, in order to win their first World Series. This is the first time since 2001 and 2002 that back-to-back World Series have gone seven games. It will be the 39th ever World Series to go the full seven games, with 19 wins by home teams and 19 wins by road teams.
This series is an instant classic, so let’s look back at how we got this far.
2017 World Series Recap: Dodgers Force Game 7
Game 1 started with a bang as Dodgers lead-off hitter Chris Taylor smashed a solo home run in the bottom of the first. It was a quick start, but the game quickly settled into a classic pitchers duel between Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel. In the end, Kershaw got the better of the Astros with on earned run on three hits and 11 strikeouts without a walk in seven strong innings. The deciding blow of the game came on a two-run home run by Justin Turner in the sixth inning. The blast broke a 1-1 tie and proved enough run support for Kershaw. Houston managed just three hits without a walk, and it appeared that the Astros offense may be stifled for the entire series.
Game 2 started the same way as Game 1. Rich Hill and Justin Verlander started strong on the mound for both teams. The duel between the two would not last as Hill was pulled after four innings. Verlander cruised into the fifth, but ran into trouble in back-to-back frames. A solo home run to Joc Pederson and a two-run blast to Corey Seager provided another 3-1 lead to the Dodgers.
This time the Astros would find a way to break through. They scraped together a run in the eighth before Marwin Gonzalez tied the game in the ninth with a solo shot off of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. The teams would trade two-run frames in the 10th inning and head to the 11th tied at four runs apiece. George Springer provided a two-run shot that would prove to be the difference.
The two teams headed to Houston where the Astros had proved to be dominant in front of their home crowd. The Astros used that home field advantage to jump on Yu Darvish for four runs in the second and never looked back. Gonzalez, Yuli Gurriel, Brian McCann, and Alex Bregman each recorded an RBI as Houston held on to that early lead with a 5-3 victory. The big story on the mound was Houston’s Brad Peacock. Peacock pitched three and two-thirds innings out of the bullpen to record a much needed save for the Astros.
The Dodgers rolled into Game 4 desperate to even the series. Alex Wood and Charlie Morton squared off on the mound. Despite both men pitching well, neither was able to get the win. A Springer home run and Logan Forsythe RBI single were the only runs scored heading into the ninth inning. Astros closer Ken Giles, who struggled throughout the series, surrendered three runs in a five-run frame for the Dodgers. Los Angeles would close out the game 6-2 and even the series at two games apiece.
Game 5 is the one game that fans will still be talking about years from now. Kershaw and Keuchel squared off in a rematch of Game 1, but another pitchers duel never materialized. Keuchel surrendered three runs in the first inning and was unable to make it through the fourth inning. It looked like the Dodgers may cruise to back-to-back wins.
Then the bats came alive. The Astros put up a four-run fourth inning capitalized by a three-run bomb from Gurriel. Kershaw and Keuchel combined for nine earned runs with neither pitcher able to make it through the fifth. From the fourth inning on, the game would see three ties and four lead changes as both teams exchanged booming shots. A solo home run by McCann gave the Astros a three-run lead heading into the ninth, but that was not enough. The Dodgers battled back on a Yasiel Puig home run and RBI single by Taylor. The game would roll into the 10th inning where it would be decided by a clutch RBI single from Bregman. The walkoff win gave Houston a 3-2 lead and chance to secure the Astros first World Series title with Verlander on the mound in Game 6.
Game 6 followed the theme of the first five in the series and turned into another great one. Verlander and Hill lined up opposite each other again, but Hill did not get the opportunity to pitch for long. Another home run by Spring provided an early lead for the Astros in the third inning. Hill was then pulled in the fifth with the bases loaded. Houston was unable to score off of Brandon Morrow, and the score stayed at 1-0 heading into the sixth.
On the other side, Verlander cruised through five beautiful innings before running into trouble. He did not allow a run while striking out eight in his first five innings, but the Dodgers struck in the sixth. Los Angeles mounted a rally and scraped together two runs with Seager and Taylor recording an RBI each. Verlander did pitch incredibly to limit the damage and stranded a runner on third to keep the score at 2-1 heading to the seventh.
The Astros threatened in the seventh but could not force a run across. It turned out to be a costly frame as Joc Pederson provided another run for the Dodgers on a solo shot to left. That left the Astros with just six outs to get two runs in order to tie the game. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen would shut them down with the two-inning save.
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