The Houston Astros have evened the 2017 World Series at one game apiece with a 7-6, 11 inning in a Game 2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in a game that saw the most combined long balls (eight) in a single game in Fall Classic history.
George Springer broke a 5-5 tie in the top of the 11th with a two-run home off of the last remaining Dodgers reliever Brandon McCarthy an inning after Los Angeles had rallied from two runs down.
Verlander only gives up two hits, but leaves trailing
Coming into the game, the storyline focused on Houston starter Justin Verlander, who was 9-0 since joining the Astros. After being given the lead courtesy of an Alex Bregman RBI single in the top of the third inning, it appeared that could be enough as Verlander was perfect through three.
After issuing a leadoff walk to Chris Taylor in the bottom of the fourth to lose the perfect game, the Dodgers got their first hit off of the Astros ace in the bottom of the fifth on a solo blast by Joc Pederson.
The bottom of the sixth unfolded in the exact same fashion as Game 1. After recording the first two outs, Verlander again walked Taylor, but it cost him this time as Corey Seager deposited a 2-1 fastball into the left field seats to give Los Angeles a 3-1 lead.
Dodgers bullpen surprisingly falters
Dodgers starter Rich Hill was pulled after just four innings, allowing one run and three hits while striking out seven. After three more scoreless innings from the bullpen ran their streak to 28 without allowing a run, Carlos Correa singled in Bregman to cut the lead to 3-2 after the third baseman doubled off of Brandon Morrow.
Closer Kenley Jansen had allowed the inherited runner to score in the eighth, but he blew his first career postseason save when Marwin Gonzalez took a 1-1 cutter over the center field fence to tie the game in the top of the ninth.
Teams trade blows in 10th inning
With Josh Fields replacing Jansen in the top of the 10th inning, Jose Altuve greeted him with a solo home run to break a 3-3 tie. Correa followed with his fourth postseason home run to pad Houston's lead.
After a Yuli Gurriel double, Tony Cingrani escaped further trouble, getting Brian McCann to fly out to center and Josh Reddick to hit iinto an inning-ending double play after an intentional walk to Gonzalez.
Houston closer Ken Giles began his second inning of work and after a one-two-three ninth inning, Yasiel Puig blasted a 97 mph fastball into the left field seats to trim the lead to 5-4.
It appeared Giles would escape after consecutive strikeouts of Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes, Logan Forsythe walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch before Kike Hernandez singled into right field to tie the game again.
Springer blast gives Astros lead again, Devenski survives final Dodgers rally
Having used all of his relievers, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts summoned McCarthy to make his playoff debut. He gave up a leadoff single to Cameron Maybin, who had entered the game in the prior inning. Maybin then stole second to set the stage for Springer.
The Astros electric leadoff man had struck out four times in Game 1, but he singled, doubled and walked before taking a 2-1 cutter over the center field wall to give Houston a 7-5 lead.
Again, the Astros tried to close the game out, this time turning to Chris Devenski. Again, Houston was one out away from evening the series, but Charlie Culberson took Devenski deep to cut the lead to 7-6, but there were no more heroics as Puig struck out to end one of the memorable games in World Series history.
Game 3 preview
The series will shift to Houston for Game 3 on Friday. The Dodgers will send Yu Darvish to the mound.
Charlie Morton will get the start for the Astros in game three. Last time on the mound Morton pitched two hit shutout baseball in five innings as the Astros defeat the New York Yankees to reach the World Series.
The five home runs in extra innings were the most ever in a single game. The three hit by the Astros were the most ever by a team in postseason history.
The seven runs allowed by the Dodgers was the most they have given up in any playoff game this year.