The 2017 World Series is now a best-of-five series.
Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, the Houston Astros stunned the Los Angeles Dodgers with a come-from-behind 11th inning win in a wild Game 2 (HOU 7, LAD 6), tying the series up at a game apiece. It is the first World Series win in Astros franchise history.
The World Series now shifts to Minute Maid Park in Houston for Games 3-5. Here are nine things to know about Game 2 of the World Series.
The first pitch was amazing
Do the Dodgers know how to do first pitches or what?
Prior to Game 1, Jackie Robinson’s widow Rachel Robinson threw out the first pitch with her family by her side. Then, prior to Game 2, legendary play-by-play man Vin Scully made his way out to the mound to essentially emcee the first pitch ceremony. Former Dodgers players Steve Yeager and Fernando Valenzuela were involved. Check it out:
Amazing. This is the first season of Dodgers baseball without Scully in the broadcast booth since 1949, but the man still knows how to work a microphone.
Taylor’s cap made the best defensive play of the game
The Astros struck first in Game 2, scoring a second inning run on an infield single, a bunt, a single, and another single. Alex Bregman had the third and final single, which drove in Josh Reddick. Here’s the play:
Bregman’s single was juuust out of the reach of a diving Chris Taylor in center, and fortunately for Taylor, the ball hopped up and hit the brim of his cap, and deflected directly to left fielder Joc Pederson. Pederson was able to hold the runners at first and second. Here’s the ball hitting Taylor’s cap:
If that ball gets by Taylor, another run definitely scores on the play and it’s possible Bregman sprints all the way around the bases for a third run and an inside-the-park home run. Taylor’s hat definitely saved one run. For sure. It possibly saved two.
By the way, when Bregman drove in Reddick with that second inning, it gave the Astros their first ever lead in the World Series. Not just this series All-time. They never led during the 2005 World Series against the White Sox. No one remembers that World Series because it was a sweep, but man, it was incredible. Four highly entertaining games.
Pederson is the ace slayer
It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Dodgers tied the game following the Bregman single. Pederson got the Dodgers even with a solo home run against Justin Verlander. Here’s the video:
Pederson is the 24th or 25th man on the World Series roster. He wasn’t on the NLDS roster, and was only added to the NLCS roster so he could play center field with Taylor sliding over to shortstop to cover for the injured Corey Seager. The last guy on the roster taking the opposing ace deep is peak “baseball is weird.”
The home run was the second postseason homer of Pederson’s career. They’ve both come off brand names:
Not too shabby. Hide your aces when Pederson is at the plate with the Dodgers down 1-0, I guess.
History repeated itself
In Game 1 on Tuesday, the Dodgers took the lead because Taylor worked a two-out walk in the sixth inning, and the next batter hit a go-ahead two-run home run. Justin Turner did the honors in Game 2.
History repeated itself in Game 2. Verlander was in control the entire game — Pederson’s home run was the first hit he allowed on the night — then he walked Taylor with two outs in the sixth, and the next batter homered. This time it was Seager. To the action footage:
Think Seager knew it was gone off the bat? Love his react. It’s the World Series and you just hit a huge home run against Justin Verlander! It’s okay to show some emotion.
The Dodgers finally caved
I wouldn’t necessarily say Rich Hill labored in Game 2, though he wasn’t particularly sharp, and his outing ended after only four innings and 70 pitches. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is pretty strict about not letting Hill go through the lineup a third time in close games.
(World Series Game 2 vs. Astros)
With Hill going only four innings, Roberts had to turn the game over to his bullpen a little earlier than I think he would’ve liked, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. The bullpen has been close to automatic all postseason anyway.
This time, the bullpen gave up it. A Bregman double and a Carlos Correa single brought the Astros to within 3-2 in the eighth inning, then, in the ninth, Marwin Gonzalez swatted a game-tying home run off Kenley Jansen. Well then. Check it out:
Gonzalez’s homer was the only the tenth game-tying homer in the ninth inning of a World Series game in baseball history. Here’s the list:
Brandon Morrow allowed the double to Bregman while Jansen, who was attempted to get a six-out save, allowed the Correa single and the Gonzalez homer. The Los Angeles bullpen was riding a 28-inning shutout streak going into that eighth inning.
Altuve & Correa gave the Astros a lead
Two runs against Morrow and Jansen only tied the game. The Astros then had to take the lead. They did that in the top of the tenth, courtesy of back-to-back homers by Jose Altuve and Correa. Here is the Altuve homer:
And here is Correa’s epic bat flip:
Altuve and Correa combined for the 16th set of back-to-back home runs in World Series history. This is the first set of back-to-back homers in extra innings of a World Series game. Incredible.
Giles blew it
Astros closer Ken Giles has appeared in six postseason games now. He’s allowed runs in five of them. After Altuve and Correa gave the Astros a two-run lead in the top of the tenth, Giles promptly allowed the Dodgers to tie it in the bottom half. Yasiel Puig swatted a solo homer, then Logan Forsythe slid in safely on Enrique Hernandez’s single.
Forsythe drew a two-out walk, moved to second on a very wild pitch, then scored on Hernandez’s single to right. Reddick’s throw was right on the money, but Forsythe slid to the outside of the base and was safe. Just like that, the game was tied again.
Springer is finally getting hot
This has not been a good postseason for George Springer overall. He went into Game 2 hitting .213/.302/.319 in 12 playoff games. Springer snapped out of it in Game 2 though, going 3 for 5 with a walk. The third of those three hits? A go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the 11th.
Six home runs were hit in the final three innings of the game: Gonzalez against Jansen, Altuve and Correa back-to-back, Puig’s shot against Giles, the Springer game-winner, and a Charlie Culberson solo shot against Chris Devenski in the bottom of the 11th to make things interesting. Add in the Pederson and Seager homers, and you get a World Series record eight homers in the game.
As I mentioned in the intro, Game 2 is the first World Series win in Astros history. They were swept back in 2005 and lost Game 1 of this series.
The ‘Stros are happy that streak came to an end in Game 2.
Also, the Dodgers lost for the first time this season when leading after eight innings. First time all season!
Bad for that streak to end, I’d say.
The Astros avoided a major deficit
By winning Game 2 and knotting the series up 1-1, the Astros avoided falling into a major hole. According to WhoWins.com, teams that have fallen behind 2-0 in the World Series have come back to win the series only 19.2 percent of the time. It is 16.2 percent of the time for best-of-seven MLB postseason series. That would’ve been daunting. Instead, the Astros can feel good because historically, teams that win Game 2 to tie the series 1-1 have gone on to win the series 51.7 percent of the time. Those odds are much more favorable.
Go back and enjoy all the excitement of Game 2 with our live blog.
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