The Houston Astros have taken a 2-1 lead in the 2017 World Series with a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Astros' offense roughed up Dodgers starter Yu Darvish for four runs in just 1 2/3 innings, the shortest outing of his career.
The story of the game turned out to be Houston's Brad Peacock, who entered the game in the sixth inning and picked up the first save of his career.
Astros get to Darvish early
With his slider appearing ineffective, it was obvious it was going to be a short night for the Dodgers righty. Game 2 hero, George Springer, led off the bottom of the first with a double but was stranded at third after Carlos Correa grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
Houston batted around in the bottom of the second. Yuli Gurriel blasted a solo home run to lead off the inning, Josh Reddick doubled, and Evan Gattis walked.
Marwin Gonzalez singled, bringing Reddick in to extend the lead to 2-0 and the suddenly hot Brian McCann followed with a single of his own to plate Gattis for a 3-0 lead.
Springer lined out for the first out before Alex Bregman's sacrifice fly brought in Gonzalez to make it 4-0. Jose Altuve doubled to end Darvish's night after 49 pitches and just five outs recorded.
McCullers continues good pitching in Game 3
Following his brilliant four inning save in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, McCullers worked around a single and stolen base by Logan Forsythe in the top of the second before getting into his only jam of the night.
He issued walks to Joc Pederson, Kike Hernandez and Chris Taylor to load the bases with no one out. Corey Seager grounded into a 3-6-1 double play, scoring Pederson. McCullers would escape further trouble by getting Justin Turner to ground out to shortstop to end the inning.
He pitched into the sixth inning after the Astros restored their four-run lead when Josh Reddick scored on an errant throw by Los Angeles reliever Tony Watson. The Dodgers mounted their final rally of the night.
Peacock comes in to shut the door
Seager walked and Turner doubled to put runners on second and third with no one out, but McCullers struck out Cody Bellinger for the first out. Peacock relieved McCullers and Yasiel Puig's RBI groundout scored Seager to make it 5-2. A wild pitch brought Turner home to make it 5-3. Pinch hitter Chase Utley popped up to end the inning.
That would be the last threat by the NL champions on the night as Peacock issued just a one-out walk to Andre Ethier in the seventh for the only baserunner of his outing. Following the game, he spoke about his spectacular outing: “I’m just glad he (manager A.J. Hinch) gave me the opportunity to do that. And it was a lot of fun out there for sure".
Game 4 preview
Down two games to one, the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound. The lefty was 16-3 in the regular season, but has made only one start in the playoffs, a loss in Game 3 of the NLCS in Chicago, allowing three runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings.
The Astros will counter with Charlie Morton. The righty won Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, tossing five shutout innings to clinch the pennant for Houston.
Houston joins the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies and 2015 Kansas City Royals as the only teams to win their first seven home games in the playoffs.
Peacock joined McCullers with a three-plus inning save, marking the first time a team recorded multiple saves of three or more innings in a single postseason.
Belinger is 0 for 11 in the World Series with seven strikeouts and acknowledges he's not swinging well: “I had a few bad at-bats today. I’ll be the first one to admit it. I’ve been in situations like this before, where I had four strikeouts. The next day, four strikeouts again. It just takes one good swing to get out of it.”