Astros take World Series lead with game-three victory
A four-run second inning inspired the Houston Astros to a 5-3 win in game three of the MLB World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Astros backed up their dramatic game-two victory with another triumph, this time on home soil in Houston on Friday.
Houston have now won all seven home games this postseason after taking a 2-1 series lead.
Houston had the momentum from the beginning with Texans defensive end J.J. Watt throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on crutches to ignite the Astros' grateful fans after he set up a relief foundation following Hurricane Harvey's destruction.
ASTROS HAVE MLB'S DEEPEST LINE-UP
George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa -- the team's most potent hitters -- all bashed late home runs to secure a game-two win. Placed in between them in the order is 23-year-old Alex Bregman, who had another RBI on Friday.
Even if a pitcher can get through those four, Houston have a host of dangerous waiting at the bottom of the order. Yuli Gurriel, Josh Reddick, Evan Gattis, Marwin Gonzalez and Brian McCann -- batting five through nine -- all reached base at least once in game three. Reddick went two for four with two runs scored. He has looked revitalized since moving down in the line-up.
MCCULLERS JR HUNG TOUGH, PEACOCK SAVED BULLPEN
Lance McCullers Jr. ultimately allowed three runs in 5.3 innings, but two of them were in the sixth inning when he had already been left the game with runners on base. McCullers lit up the New York Yankees with consistent curveballs, but went back to his fastball early on Friday, which caught LA's hitters off guard.
McCullers walked the first three batters he faced in the third inning, but a timely double play helped him get out of the inning with just one run allowed. The Astros rotation has held up better than anticipated behind Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. McCullers' rediscovered form is a big reason why.
Brad Peacock came in and closed out the game by tossing 3.6 scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Houston's bullpen had struggled, so manager A.J. Hinch had to be pleased with Peacock's dominance. The Houston crowd cheered on Peacock through the final out.
"That was awesome," Peacock told Fox Sports. "I've never experienced anything like that in my life."
DARVISH PICKED WRONG TIME LOSE FORM
Yu Darvish entered the night with just two earned runs in 11.3 innings this postseason, but he was pulled in the second inning after allowing four earned runs. Darvish lasted only 1.6 innings, marking the shortest start of his career. His previous low had been a three-inning outing against the San Diego Padres in September.
Darvish never quite looked right in game three and he forced Dave Roberts to once again turn to his bullpen early. Kenta Maeda tossed 2.6 shutout innings, but Los Angeles needed a lengthy outing to rest their bullpen.
GURRIEL GOES BANG!
Gurriel's home run left the park in a hurry. The homer marked Gurriel's 17th postseason hit, which became the most in one playoff campaign by a Cuban-born player, breaking a tie with Bert Campaneris.
DODGERS AT ASTROS
The Astros will try to win their third straight game on Saturday. Charlie Morton will take the mound in front of Houston's raucous fans, trying to build on the six shut-out innings he tossed in game seven of the American League Championship Series. Los Angeles will try to stop the bleeding with Alex Wood.