Astros clinch first World Series with game-seven win over Dodgers
The Houston Astros claimed their first World Series title on Wednesday, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in game seven at Dodger Stadium.
Houston scored five runs in the first two innings to silence the eager Los Angeles crowd. Lance McCullers started for the Astros, but he lasted just 2.1 scoreless innings after hitting four batters, which was the most in a World Series game.
Charlie Morton slammed the door by allowing just one run with four strikeouts in four relief innings. Whether starting or working out the bullpen, Morton was incredible all postseason.
Still dealing with the after-effects from Hurricane Harvey, the city of Houston gained a reason to celebrate thanks to the Astros' clutch victory.
ASTROS EXECUTED THEIR GAME PLAN
The entire series had been highlighted by towering home runs, but the Astros implemented a small-ball approach early Wednesday to beat the Dodgers. George Springer led the game with a double. Alex Bregman then reached on an error - which scored Springer - stole third base, and ultimately scored on a Jose Altuve groundout to first.
It was not a pretty first inning by the Astros' normal standards, but it got the job done. Manufacturing runs on the road can be tough in any circumstance, but the Astros executed early in the most high-pressure situation possible. In the second inning, Houston returned to their power-hitting ways when Springer jacked a two-run home run. It was his fourth straight game with a home run.
YU DARVISH SHOULDN'T HAVE STARTED
Los Angeles acquired Darvish before the July 31 trade deadline, hoping he would provide rotation depth. Darvish had his moments in a Dodgers uniform, but he completely lost command and bite on his slider, which carried over into game seven.
Darvish looked uncomfortable from the start, throwing pitches right down the middle of the plate against Houston's vaunted lineup. Darvish left the game after 1.2 innings, having allowed five runs (four earned). He was rocked for four earned runs in 1.2 innings in a game three loss this series, and manager Dave Roberts should have used Darvish in the middle of the game, or not at all, due to his recently poor location.
Clayton Kershaw tossed four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with four strikeouts. Why not start him to set the tone? The natural progression of the Dodgers' rotation suggested it was Darvish's turn to start, but if Kershaw was going to pitch that much he should have just started.
DODGERS LEFT TOO MANY ON
The Astros scored five early runs, executing in a variety of ways to get men home. Houston left just five runners on base - three of which occurred in the top of the sixth inning when Cameron Maybin popped out in a pinch-hit at-bat with two outs and the bases loaded.
The Dodgers, however, frequently occupied the bases, but struggled to get runners home. Los Angeles went one-for-13 with runners in scoring position, stranding a monstrous 10 batters on base. Cleanup hitter Cody Bellinger struck out three times, surpassing Aaron Judge's recently established record for most strikeouts in a single postseason. But it was not just Bellinger's fault. As a whole, the Dodgers failed to execute when scoring opportunities presented themselves.
Springer blasted a second-inning home run.
Springer joined Reggie Jackson (1977) and Chase Utley (2009) as the only players with five home runs in a single World Series.