For the first 17 innings of this World Series, the Dodgers had looked nearly impenetrable, with their flaws few and far between. But tonight was a night where nothing in baseball was certain.
The Astros were staring down an 0-2 series hole as the game appeared to enter its final stages. L.A. manager Dave Roberts’s decision to remove Rich Hill early and lean on his relievers with an off day looming seemed like the smartest move of the night. Down 1-0 when Hill left the game after four, Los Angeles held a 3-2 lead when their bullpen finally cracked in the eighth, after 28 straight scoreless innings.
While their stud pitcher, Justin Verlander, surrendered two home runs on an otherwise great night, the frigid Astros offense struggled to get anything going, wasting opportunities against Hill then looking mostly unable to solve the other Dodger pitchers.
They got one run in the eighth, however, charged to Brandon Morrow, that cut things to a one-run game. But that small gap still felt immense. Going up against Kenley Jansen in the ninth? It was a pretty safe bet that JV was going to leave Dodger Stadium with his first loss in a Houston uniform.
But Marwin Gonzalez stepped up and ripped an 0-2 pitch just over the wall in left-center field, sending the game into extras.
And then, in the next inning, Jose Altuve swung his big mighty bat like a goddamn MVP.
And Carlos Correa followed it with a perfect instant replay, unknowingly providing the hit that would sustain the game.
And that’s when things got especially wild. We had a Puig dong that seemed too little, too late. But then, we had a tie game thanks to an Enrique Hernández hit. It wasn’t over.
And it still might not be over if it weren’t for George Springer, another one of so many Astros who took their time but finally delivered a big hit. His home run, after so much emotional see-sawing, finally proved to be a decider.
It still wasn’t easy, with a Charlie Culberson dinger cutting the deficit in half to its eventual 7-6 final, but Houston pulled off a heist, and the series is tied 1-1.
Heading into the ninth, the Astros had only scored three runs in two games. With just a few swings, however, this series is once again thrilling, and Houston looks just as scary as Los Angeles. Two games in, and there’s already been too many plot twists to count.
“Up, down, up, down, up,” is how George Springer described the game to Ken Rosenthal afterwards. That’s the only easy way to put it.