The Astros stormed from behind Wednesday in Game 2 of the World Series to beat the Dodgers 7-6 in Los Angeles.
Down 3-1 in the sixth inning, the Astros looked poised for another loss with the Dodgers’ elite bullpen on the mound. But the Astros scraped out a run in the eighth inning after an Alex Bregman double. The run ended the Dodgers bullpen’s 28-inning scoreless streak.
Kenley Jansen entered the game in the eighth, with Bregman already on base, trying to complete a six-out save, but he allowed a solo home run to Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game.
Madness ensued in extra innings, with both teams rallying. The Astros ultimately prevailed in 11 innings.
The game started with a special first-pitch by Vin Scully, and the Dodgers rode that momentum early, but the game ended in L.A. lament. The series will now head to Houston after a travel day.
Here are three takeaways from Game 2:
1. Astros displayed resiliency — The city of Houston had already proven it was capable of working together during relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey. The Astros lifted the city once again with a spirited charge to claim Game 2.
When Corey Seager blasted a two-run home run in the sixth inning, following a Chris Taylor walk, the Game 2 script seemed eerily similar to Game 1 when Justin Turner jacked a two-run home run in the sixth. The Astros looked shell-shocked immediately after Seager’s home run, but they rallied on the back of Altuve, the frontrunner for AL MVP, after he hit the first of two home runs in the top of the 10th inning.
After the Dodgers tied the game in the 10th inning, the Astros quickly dusted off disappointment by scoring two runs with no one out in the top of the 11th. Cameron Maybin, an underrated gem on Houston’s bench, singled and stole second. George Springer then blasted one into the seats for the game’s seventh of eight home runs, a new World Series record.
2. Dave Roberts pulled Rich Hill too soon — Hill had thrown just 60 pitches (42 for strikes) through four innings, with one run allowed and seven strikeouts when Roberts pulled him from the game. Roberts then used eight different pitchers throughout the course of the game, trying to keep his bullpen fresh.
But Hill had most of Houston’s hitters confused with his late-moving fastball and slick breaking ball. Altuve looked lost in his two at-bats against Hill. In the postseason, managers usually err on the side of caution with their starters, but Hill appeared to have plenty left in the tank. His early exit caused a ripple effect in the Dodgers bullpen, and it played into the Astros’ hands.
3. Justin Verlander’s Astros magic runs out — Verlander entered the game 9-0 and 4-0 in the postseason, since donning an Astros uniform before the August 31 trade deadline. The six-time All-Star had rediscovered his fastball velocity while gaining control over his knee-jerking curveball. But two young Dodgers sluggers finally ended his stellar run.
Verlander tied Don Drysdale as the only pitchers to allow multiple home runs in three World Series games. Verlander actually had a no-hitter Wednesday entering the fifth inning, but Joc Pederson ended the run with a solo home run. Verlander was spared a loss thanks to Gonzalez’ solo home run in the ninth inning.
Gonzalez’s ninth-inning home run:
Tied! #EarnHistory pic.twitter.com/5Qfod4Qqnq
— Houston Astros (@astros) October 26, 2017