LOS ANGELES – About an hour after one of the finest games in the 113-year history of the World Series loosened its vise grip on the 38 men who played in it and the 54,293 who witnessed it and the millions lucky enough to watch it,
“We needed that,” Gonzalez said.
“We needed that,” Springer repeated.
They laughed. Both were bushed, drained by the unseasonable heat and the physical exertion of 11 innings and the pure bipolarity of their 7-6 victory against the
“What a game,” Gonzalez said.
“What a game,” Springer repeated.
Together, they accounted for the game’s two most important home runs, Gonzalez a game-tying ninth-inning screamer to left-center field off the Dodgers’ indomitable closer,
That the Dodgers managed to backburner Altuve and Correa’s home runs, the first back-to-back extra-innings shots in World Series history, spoke to their fight, which lasted through the 11th, when a
It was over. October baseball, a feral animal best left to carve whatever circuitous path it pleases, had gone up and down, right and left, forward and backward, all the same night. And much as some Astros wanted to talk about the game, to relive what they’d just seen, what they’d just done, they couldn’t.
“My voice is gone,” Astros pitcher
His wasn’t the only one. Some could muster little more than: “Best game I’ve ever seen.” Or: “I’ll never play in a better game.” And: “I’ll remember every single pitch of this game.”
The last words were Correa’s, and no single pitch stands out more than the game’s 229th, a 94-mph cutter that broke over the heart of the plate. It is not an exaggeration to say no better pitch in baseball exists than Jansen’s cutter. Even belt-high ones that bisect the plate don’t yield much. Jansen
“He made a mistake,” Gonzalez said, almost surprised, though it was neither the first nor the last of the night. The Astros scored the game’s initial run in the fourth inning after second baseman
Marwin Gonzalez hammers a solo home run to left-center field, tying the game at 3 in the top of the 9th inning
When Verlander walked
Come the eighth inning, each of those feelings started to vanish. Dodgers relief pitchers had thrown 28 consecutive scoreless innings, including three after manager Dave Roberts yanked starter
Jansen left before the 10th, replaced by
“It’s just you and me,” Correa said.
“Let’s go,” Altuve said.
“Let’s do this,” Correa said.
Teammates sitting on the bench beamed. They’d done this once before: in Game 2 of the ALCS, when they were hitting second and third against
Altuve led off with a home run. Correa followed with his. As he watched Correa’s fly, Dodgers catcher
“It was a slippery bat,” Correa said.
“Look, I don’t expect to play in the World Series every year,” he said. “As good as we’re going to be, we’re not going to be here every year. So when you’re here, you’d better enjoy it. It’s baseball. It’s supposed to be fun.”
And with the Astros ahead, 5-3, it was plenty of fun. The Astros could smirk as a man leapt from the stands just inside the right-field foul pole into Houston’s bullpen, where security guards spirited him toward the exit, a place plenty of Angelenos might have felt compelled to go.
Only they know this Dodgers team. And they knew this Dodgers team was facing
Just look at what happened next. Giles was out, Devenski in. Hernandez had advanced to second on the throw, and Altuve tried to sneak behind him for a pickoff play. Holding a changeup grip, Devenski wheeled at threw the ball. Just not to Altuve. It sizzled toward umpire Laz Diaz and hit him in the leg, preventing Hernandez from advancing. The fortuity that favored the Dodgers in the third inning, when Bregman’s RBI single bounced off the brim of Taylor’s cap in center and caromed to Pederson instead of scooting by, had evened out by the grace of Diaz being in the right place at the right time.
Suddenly, everything was coming up Astros. Roberts’ early hook on Hill, as well as his desire to match up relievers throughout the game, bit him in the 11th, when he inserted
All night, Springer had stung the ball, and he approached the plate appearance looking for little more than a groundball to move Maybin over, not knowing anything at all about McCarthy. “I’ve been getting myself into trouble by looking at a lot of stuff of guys I haven’t seen,” Springer said. “I’m about as old-school of a baseball player as it comes. I like to see it and hit it.”
When he saw a slider tilting over the middle of the plate, he hit it, and it landed 389 feet later in right-center field. The Astros, worn out already, plotzed.
“I almost fainted, I think, three times,” Verlander said. “I’m not joking. Cheering so loudly I had to take a minute to recompose myself so I didn’t pass out.”
Not to be outdone, Correa said: “I almost had a heart attack in the last inning.” Though admittedly, the bottom half nearly matched the top in terms of activity worthy of palpitations. Culberson, a lifelong bench player, couldn’t help his over-the-top celebration as he rounded the bases following the fifth extra-innings home run of the night. It was happening. Again.
George Springer hammers a two-run homer to right-center field in the top of the 11th inning to give the Astros a 7-5 lead
“We hit two home runs off a former teammate who we all love to giving up two runs to getting back to runs to giving up a run and Puig’s up,” Astros pitcher
Then came the flurry of Devenski changeups and the final swing on a night with so many memorable ones and a Game 2 that felt like it belonged in the pantheon of other phenomenal World Series games, even if it took place early in the series, even if it lacked the gravitas of 2011’s Game 6 or 2016’s Game 7.
“Not the first one, the fourth one,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I think the fourth one – that will be the one to bring home to the city.”
He was right, of course, that this performance, this night, this win means so much less without three more victories to follow. And yet nobody wearing an Astros uniform – nor, for that matter, a Dodgers uniform – could deny this was something more than usual, a sprawling, irrational beautiful game, the likes of which are seen only in October, when two excellent baseball teams can play the sort of game that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.