It was a Hollywood ending in Dodger Stadium, but not the one Los Angeles was looking for.
In what’s sure to go down as one of the Fall Classic’s most thrilling games, Houston evened the World Series one game apiece with a 7-6 comeback win against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday night, thanks to heroics from the Astros’ hard-hitting lineup.
After the Dodgers tied up the Game 5-5 in the 10th inning, Cameron Maybin singled off Brandon McCarthy, who took the loss, to start the 11th inning and was able to steal second.
George Springer was up next. He homered to score two more runs and seal the win, ending the game that lasted more than four hours.
“That’s the craziest game I can say I’ve ever played in. And it’s only Game 2,” Springer said after the game.
With two outs and the game nearly over, LA’s Charlie Culberson made it a one-run ball game with a solo home run at the bottom of the 11th. Up next was Puig, who helped tie the game the inning before. With crowds chanting “Let’s go Puig,” the Cuban sensation was able to work Chris Devenski to a full count, but ultimately struck out.
“It’s an incredible game on so many levels, so many ranges of emotion. That’s one of the most incredible games you’ll ever be a part of,” Houston Manager AJ Hinch said at his post-game news conference.
The Dodgers took a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning off a two-run homer by Corey Seager, who was not on the National League Championship roster because of an injury.
But Houston came roaring back near the end against the Dodgers’ stingy bullpen, one of the best in baseball.
Marwin Gonzalez gutted a solo home run to center field off All-Star closer Kenley Jansen at the top of the ninth, sending the game into extra innings.
American League MVP hopeful Jose Altuve gave the Astros a 4-3 lead in the top of the 10th, with Carlos Correa adding an insurance run on the next pitch.
“We’re never out of it. We have a lineup that’s really scary when it’s on,” Correa said after the game.
Yasiel Puig and Enrique Hernandez gave the Dodgers a glimmer of hope, tying the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the 10th.
Game 3 is in Houston Friday night, where the Astros have not lost in the playoffs.
Despite the Astros’ stellar record at home, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts struck a positive tone following his team’s loss.
“All year long we’ve done a nice job of recovering, turning the page,” Roberts said. “On this stage it’s a little bit tougher but I have no doubt we will focus.”
The Astros scored first when Alex Bregman singled in Josh Reddick from third with one out in the third inning. The damage could have been worse, but the sharply hit ball bounced off the bill of the cap worn by diving center fielder Chris Taylor right to teammate Joc Pederson in left.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Pederson nailed a breaking ball for a home run that tied the score 1-1.
Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander had been undefeated since being traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Astros — nine wins in nine starts.
He pitched well, using a dominant fastball to strike out five in six innings. But he got little run support as the Astros struggled to score until after Verlander was pulled.
Dodgers starter Rich Hill pitched only four innings and threw just 60 pitches. He struck out seven batters and gave up one run. He was angry when manager Dave Roberts told him he would not pitch a fifth inning.
The Dodgers won Game 1 on Tuesday thanks to strong pitching from Clayton Kershaw and home runs from Taylor and Justin Turner. At the start of the game, the temperature was 103˚ Fahrenheit. On Wednesday evening it was just 93˚ when the first pitch was thrown.
Legends come out
In a crowd-pleasing moment, former Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully came out as if he was going to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, but instead he went to the “bullpen.” Out came the pitcher who set off “Fernandomania” in the 1980s, Fernando Valenzuela. The former Rookie of the Year and Cy Young winner tossed the baseball to his old teammate Steve Yeager.
Scully, who broadcast 67 seasons in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, then got the Dodger Stadium crowd to join him in saying one of his popular phrases: “It’s time for Dodger baseball!”