Houston Astros

Astros beat Dodgers in Game 7 to capture 1st World Series title

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Astros beat Dodgers in Game 7 to capture 1st World Series title

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES — From laughingstock to lift off.

George Springer and the Houston Astros rocketed to the top of the baseball galaxy Wednesday night, winning the first World Series championship in franchise history by romping past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7.

Playing for a city still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, and wearing an H Strong logo on their jerseys, the Astros brought home the prize that had eluded them since they started out in 1962 as the Colt .45s.

"I always believed that we could make it," All-Star slugger Jose Altuve said. "We did this for them."

For a Series that was shaping up as an October classic, Game 7 quickly became a November clunker as Houston scored five runs in the first two innings off Yu Darvish. Hardly the excitement fans felt during the Cubs' 10-inning thriller in Cleveland last fall.

Well, except for everyone wearing bright orange. Back in Houston, a huge crowd filled Minute Maid Park to cheer as fans watched on the big video board, and the train whistle wailed when it was over.

"We're coming home a champion, Houston," Springer said after accepting the World Series MVP trophy named this year for Willie Mays (see story).

Star shortstop Carlos Correa turned the party into a proposal. After doing a TV interview, he got down on one knee and asked girlfriend Daniella Rodriguez, a former Miss Texas USA, to marry him (see story).

"Yes?" he said, putting a ring on her finger as she cried.

Altuve, one of four holdovers from a club that lost an embarrassing 111 times in 2013 after switching from the NL to the AL, and this collection of young stars silenced Dodger Stadium from the get-go, taking a 5-0 lead in the second inning.

Altuve was in perfect position for the final out, a grounder by Corey Seager to the 5-foot-6 second baseman.

"I caught the last out for the Houston Astros to become a world champion. It was a groundball to me, I threw to first, and I think it was the happiest moment of my life in baseball," Altuve said.

The Astros streamed from the dugout and bullpen to go wild, tossing their gloves in the air. A thousand or so fans crowded behind the first base dugout, chanting "Hou-ston! Hou-ston!"

Later, some little Astros kids ran around the outfield grass dressed in Halloween outfits. Their dads, meanwhile, were putting on championship hats and shirts.

At last, they had completed the ascent some predicted after a rebuilding club purged payroll and stripped down to bare bones a few years back.

Famously, now, there was the Sports Illustrated cover in 2014 — after Houston had lost more than 100 games for three straight seasons — that proclaimed: "Your 2017 World Series Champs" and featured a picture of Springer in a bright Astros jersey.

On the other side, ace Clayton Kershaw and several Dodgers leaned against the dugout railing, watching the Astros celebrate. Los Angeles led the majors with 104 wins and a $240 million payroll, and rallied to win Game 6, yet it didn't pay off for part-owner Magic Johnson and his team.

"Obviously, this one hurts," manager Dave Roberts said. "And like I told the guys, when you put everything, every ounce of your being into something and you come up short, it hurts. And it's supposed to hurt."

Normally a starter, Charlie Morton finished up with four stellar innings of relief for the win.

"We held down a really tough lineup," Morton said. "For my teammates, for the city of Houston, it's just unbelievable."

Springer led off the evening with a double against Darvish, and soon it was 2-0.

Springer hit his fifth homer — tying the Series mark set by Reggie Jackson (1977) and matched by Chase Utley (2009) — when he connected for a record fourth game in a row, making it a five-run lead.

That was plenty for Houston manager A.J. Hinch. He pulled starter Lance McCullers Jr. soon after the curveballer crazily plunked his fourth batter of the game, and began a parade of four relievers that held the lead.

Throughout the postseason, Hinch and the unconventional Astros overcame a shaky bullpen by using starters in relief.

"I knew yesterday I didn't have much," said McCullers, the Game 3 winner. "I knew I didn't have much to give other than to gut it out as long as I could."

In a dramatic Series marked by blown leads and late rallies, when Houston twice outlasted the Dodgers in extra innings, McCullers did enough.

Forever known for their space-age Astrodome, outlandish rainbow jerseys and a handful of heartbreaking playoff losses for stars like Nolan Ryan, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, these Astros will be remembered as champions, finally, in their 56th season.

The club that wears a star on its hat also filled out the Texas trophy case. Teams from the Lone Star State had won most every major crown — the Super Bowl, NBA and NHL titles, championships in college football, and men's and women's hoops — except the World Series.

Built on the skills of homegrown All-Stars Dallas Keuchel and more, helped by veteran offseason acquisitions such as Brian McCann and 40-year-old Carlos Beltran, who won his first ring, and boosted by the slick trade for ace Justin Verlander, general manager Jeff Luhnow oversaw the team's resurgence.

Houston won 101 times this year to take the AL West, then won Games 6 and 7 at home in the AL Championship Series against the New York Yankees. The Astros joined the 1985 Royals as the only clubs to win a pair of Game 7s in the same year.

When it was over, Bagwell and Biggio posed for pictures together with the World Series trophy.

For the Dodgers, the quest to win a Series for the first time since 1988 fell short.

Kershaw provided four shutout innings of relief for Los Angeles, but it was too late. What the Dodgers really needed was a better starter than Darvish, someone more like the lefty who tossed out a ceremonial first ball: the great Sandy Koufax.

Acquired from Texas on July 31 for these big games, Darvish lasted 1 2/3 innings in both his World Series starts — the two shortest of his career.

"This pain is going to stay in me for a while," the four-time All-Star said through a translator.

After Springer lined a leadoff double, Alex Bregman hit a bouncer that first baseman Cody Bellinger threw past Darvish for an error, allowing a run to score. Bregman aggressively stole third and scored on Altuve's grounder, and it was 2-0 after eight pitches.

A double by Marwin Gonzalez helped set up perhaps McCullers' biggest contribution, a slow grounder for his first pro RBI. Springer followed with a no-doubt, two-run drive into the left-center field bleachers.

That was the Series-most 25th homer in a Major League Baseball season that set a record for home runs. It was easily enough for the Astros to offset pinch-hitter Andre Ethier's RBI single in the Los Angeles sixth.

Only once have the Dodgers clinched a crown at home, that coming in 1963 when Koufax outpitched Yankees star Whitey Ford to finish a sweep. They've never won Game 7 of the Fall Classic at their own park, dating more than a century ago to their days on the streets of Brooklyn as the Trolley Dodgers.

As pockets of Houston fans got louder and louder in the later innings, the crowd at Dodger Stadium was left to repeat the sad, but hopeful cry that used to echo in Brooklyn: Wait till next year.

Just 106 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

World Series: Dodgers rally to force deciding Game 7

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World Series: Dodgers rally to force deciding Game 7

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES -- Joc Pederson sliced a drive over the left-field wall, pounded his chest and danced around the bases, taking as many twists and turns as this World Series itself. Of course, the Los Angeles Dodgers forced the Houston Astros to Game 7.

Chris Taylor hit a tying double off Justin Verlander during a two-run rally in the sixth inning, Corey Seager followed with a go-ahead sacrifice fly and the Dodgers beat the Astros 3-1 on Tuesday night to push this dramatic Fall Classic to the ultimate game.

Pederson homered in the seventh against Joe Musgrove, connecting off the right-hander for the second time in three games to make it a record 24 long balls hit in this Series. Pederson pranced all the way to the plate, pointing at the Dodgers' dugout and rubbing his thumbs and index fingers together to indicate what a money shot it was.

Mired in a major slump earlier this season, Pederson was demoted to the minors -- and teammates began offering to pay him for opposite-field home runs in an effort to get him to hit the ball the other way.

"I kind of black out in a situation like that," said Pederson, who has three homers in the Series. "I'm going to have to re-watch it to see what I did."

Yu Darvish starts Wednesday for the Dodgers, trying to win their first title since 1988, and Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will be ready in the bullpen. Lance McCullers Jr. goes for the Astros in the first World Series Game 7 ever at Dodger Stadium.

"It's only fitting," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Darvish was chased in the second inning of Game 2, when McCullers pitched Houston to a 5-3 victory.

"Two incredible teams, trying to get to the finish line," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

Two nights after a 13-12, 10-inning slugfest under the roof at Minute Maid Park, pitching dominated.

George Springer's third-inning home run against starter Rich Hill had given a 1-0 lead to Verlander and the Astros, trying for the first championship in their 56-season history. On Halloween night, a championship for a team with orange in its colors seemed appropriate.

But it served only to set up the 10th blown lead of the Series, the fifth by Houston, as Verlander fell to 9-1 with Houston.

Dodgers relievers combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Brandon Morrow retired Alex Bregman on a grounder to strand the bases loaded in the fifth, winner Tony Watson got Marwin Gonzalez to fly out with two on and two outs in the sixth, and Kenta Maeda escaped two-on trouble in the seventh when third baseman Justin Turner gloved Jose Altuve's grounder and threw a one-hop throw that first baseman Cody Bellinger scooped just in time.

After wasting a ninth-inning lead in Game 2 and losing Game 5, Kenley Jansen retired six straight batters for the save and ended by striking out 40-year-old pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran.

This will be the third World Series Game 7 in four years. Ten of the last 12 teams that won Game 6 to force a seventh game also won the title, but the Dodgers lost the previous six World Series in which they trailed 3-2. They have won just one of their six championships at home, in 1963.

A heat wave over, the temperature dropped to 67 degrees at game time from 103 for last week's opener. The San Gabriel Mountains were occluded by heavy clouds.

Los Angelenos with a laid-back reputation were more energetic and on their feet for two-strike counts against Astros batters, a wave in Pantone 294 -- also known as Dodger blue. Stadium organist Dieter Ruehle greeted the Astros with "Hotel California" for the start of batting practice, but there was an un-LA-like drizzle in the middle innings.

"We feed off the crowd, for sure," Taylor said. "We feel we have a huge home-field advantage."

Yuli Gurriel, who made a racist gesture toward Darvish in Game 3, was booed loudly during introductions and each time he batted,

Verlander has 11 postseason wins but dropped to 0-4 in the Series with Detroit and Houston, which acquired him from the Tigers on Aug. 31 to win on nights like this.

The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner, Verlander allowed just one baserunner before Austin Barnes singled leading off the sixth. Verlander bounced a pitch that hit Chase Utley on the front of his right foot, and Taylor sent a 97 mph fastball down the right-field line as Barnes came home. Seager followed with a sacrifice fly to the right-field warning track, a ball that likely would have landed in the pavilion in last week's hot air.

Verlander prevented more damage when Turner fouled out and the right-hander fanned Bellinger, who struck out four times for the second time in the Series.

Springer homered for the third straight game and fourth time in the Series, one shy of the record set by Reggie Jackson in 1977 and matched by Chase Utley in 2009. While it silenced the Dodger Stadium crowd, Astros fans erupted at a watch party in Minute Maid Park. Los Angeles has allowed home runs in all 14 of its postseason games.

Brian McCann singled leading off the fifth and Gonzalez doubled past Turner and down the left-field line. Hill struck out Josh Reddick and Verlander, and Springer was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Morrow relieved as the crowd booed Roberts' decision, and Hill slapped at four cups of liquid in the dugout, sending them spraying against the wall.

"With Verlander on the mound, I felt that was going to be the game," Roberts said.

Appearing in his sixth straight Series game, Morrow got Bregman to ground to shortstop on his second pitch.

Watson walked Reddick leading off the seventh, Evan Gattis pinch hit for Verlander and Maeda relieved. Gattis bounced to shortstop, just beating Utley's throw from second to avoid a double play. Springer reached on an infield single that bounced off Seager's glove at shortstop and into left field, and Bregman's fly to deep center allowed pinch-runner Derek Fisher to tag up and advance to third, bringing up Altuve. Walking down the dugout steps after his groundout, Altuve slammed his helmet.

Astros blast by Dodgers in 10th, lead World Series, 3-2

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Astros blast by Dodgers in 10th, lead World Series, 3-2

Updated: Oct. 30, 8:49 a.m.

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON — When the winning run finally came sliding across home plate on Alex Bregman's single, more than five unforgettable hours after the first pitch, a frantic Carlos Correa sprinted toward his Houston Astros teammates in the middle of the diamond.

Arm in the air, pure elation all over his face.

A last indelible image from a World Series classic filled with them.

Correa, Jose Altuve and the Astros kept hammering away in a wild slugfest that no one saw coming, rallying against Clayton Kershaw and rocking the Los Angeles Dodgers 13-12 in 10 thrilling innings Sunday night for a 3-2 lead.

"I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack out there," Correa said.

In a tension-filled game of monster momentum swings at pulsating Minute Maid Park, the last one belonged to Bregman . With the packed crowd still standing well past midnight, the 23-year-old third baseman hit an RBI single with two outs off Kenley Jansen.

"The best game ever, for sure," Correa said.

Wacky and whacky with seven home runs, this perhaps topped Toronto's 15-14 win over the Phillies in 1993 as the craziest World Series showdown ever.

Exhilaration and exhaustion, spread over 5 hours, 17 minutes.

"Yeah, five-hour game, but it doesn't matter. I can play a 10-hour game if we are going to win," Altuve said.

Now, with both bullpens worn down, the teams get a day to recover. Game 6 will be Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, where Justin Verlander will try to clinch the Astros' first championship and Rich Hill hopes to save Los Angeles' season.

Altuve, Correa, Yuli Gurriel, George Springer and Brian McCann homered for Houston , the highest-scoring team in the majors this season.

Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig went deep for the Dodgers, who scored three times in the ninth to make it 12-all.

"It's hard to put into words all the twists and turns in that game," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

"These are just two really good teams, just throwing haymakers at each other trying to outlast each other," he said.

Silent when ace Dallas Keuchel got crushed, the orange-clad fans erupted over and over as the Astros sent balls careening all around -- and out of -- the park.

Yet on another night of Home Run Derby in the Year of the Home Run, no lead was safe.

Puig lined a two-run shot in the ninth, the record 22nd homer in a single Series, and Chris Taylor's two-out single off Chris Devenski tied it.

"I think this whole series has been an emotional roller coaster," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "It's the two best teams playing for a championship. And these are two teams that play 27 outs."

More than that, in fact.

Houston posted its second extra-inning victory of the Series, adding to its 7-6, 11-inning comeback win in a dramatic Game 2.

With two down in the 10th, Jansen hit McCann on the hand with a pitch and Springer walked.

Bregman, who homered off Jansen in Saturday night's loss, lined the next pitch over shortstop to score pinch-runner Derek Fisher, who slid home ahead of the throw from left fielder Andre Ethier.

"We're up 3-2, baby," Bregman said.

Out of nowhere, the Astros climbed out of a four-run hole against Kershaw and then erased two more deficits later in the game, tying it each time on a homer.

Correa leaped and twirled after launching a two-run drive that made it 11-8 in the seventh . Much later, he hurdled the dugout railing the moment Bregman lined his winning single.

Bellinger hit a three-run drive in the fifth that made it 7-4 and seemed to swing things back in the Dodgers' favor. By the end of the mayhem on the mound, it was a mere afterthought.

Each team had 14 hits, eight for extra bases, and both used seven pitchers.

"Man, I'm mentally exhausted right now," Bellinger said.

Before the game, former Presidents George H.W. Bush and son George W. Bush were on the field for the first-pitch ceremony. By the end of the night, most everyone was bushed.

The Astros (13) and Dodgers (9) topped the Series mark for homers , set when Barry Bonds and the Giants lost to the Angels in seven games in 2002.

But really, who imagined this?

No wonder there's a bright sign high above the center field wall for a popular taco place in town -- it says Torchys and fit perfectly for a game where pitchers got lit up.

A day earlier, Kershaw stood alone on the mound after the Dodgers' dramatic win in Game 4, trying to get a visual for the biggest start of his career.

This was definitely not how he pictured it.

The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner cruised into the fourth with a 4-0 lead before things suddenly fell apart. After Correa hit an RBI double, Gurriel launched a tying, three-run drive.

Kershaw whipped his head around to watch Gurriel's drive sail, his face immediately showing shock, utter disbelief and frustration, all wrapped up in one expression before he bent over, hands on his knees.

Yanked in the fifth, Kershaw trudged off with a dubious distinction -- he has allowed a postseason-record eight home runs this year.

"Just exactly what you expect (when you) come to the park with Keuchel and Kershaw pitching," Hinch said.

Hardly a repeat performance from the opener, when Kershaw dominated while outpitching Keuchel for a 3-1 win.

Gurriel's second homer of the Series also kept open this possibility: Imagine the scene if Major League Baseball presents Gurriel with the MVP trophy, so soon after Commissioner Rob Manfred suspended him for the first five games next year for making a racist gesture toward Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish.

Keuchel never got into a rhythm during the shortest home start of his All-Star career. His breaking pitches spun without much movement, and he was pulled in the fourth.

The Dodgers hadn't lost a game this year when they led by four runs. But Kershaw's bedeviling postseason past came back to haunt him at the worst time.

Kershaw was pulled after a pair of two-out walks in the bottom of the fifth. And with the crowd sensing something big, the 5-foot-6 Altuve connected off Kenta Maeda for a home run that made it 7-all.

"At that point, I talked to him before getting the at-bat: `This is your moment,'" Correa said. "And he didn't let me down. He hit a homer and got us going."