It wasn’t the ending Los Angeles fans were looking for, as the Houston Astros became World Series champions Wednesday night with a 5-1 victory over the Dodgers in a deciding Game 7.
While the long wait continues for a World Series championship to come to Los Angeles, Houston won its first since becoming a franchise in 1962.
It has been 29 years since the Dodgers enjoyed the thrill. Los Angeles won a Major League Baseball high104 games, setting the stage for the seventh game to be played with home field advantage.
Dodger fans were pumped at the outset, waving flags, trying to fuel their team before the energy went out of the building in a heartbeat. The Astros quickly grabbed the momentum and made a statement early by taking a 5-0 lead after the second inning and held the Dodgers to their lone run in the sixth inning.
Yu Darvish had his second straight ineffective start for Los Angeles as he gave up a double to George Springer to open the game. A throwing error by Cody Bellinger led to the Astros’ first run as Springer came to the plate. Manufacturing runs, Alex Bregman, who wound up at second base following the miscue, stole third base and scored on a ground out, and suddenly Houston was up 2-0.
In the second inning, Houston’s Brian McCann walked, Marwin Gonzalez doubled and Astros’ pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. hit a slow roller to second, sending McCann to the plate with the visitor’s third run. Then came a two run blast by Springer into the left-field pavilion to give Houston its insurmountable lead.
Trailing 5-0, it was enough for Dodgers’ Manager Dave Roberts to say good night to Darvish, who had two World Series starts of less than two innings pitched.
Darvish’s exit brought Brandon Morrow in for a brief appearance before Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw shut down the Astros over the next four innings with a solid relief performance.
Los Angeles had plenty of opportunities to score but couldn’t come up with the big hit, stranding 10 runners through the first six innings.
Andre Ethier, perhaps, in his last at-bat as a Dodger singled to right, scoring Joc Pederson and gave Los Angeles fans hope of yet another comeback in this wild series. Trailing 5-1 and the delirious crowd beckoning for a more heroics, the Dodger threat quickly ended as Chris Taylor struck out and Corey Seager grounded to short, shattering his bat in the process, to end the sixth.
The season came to an end for the Dodgers three innings later as Seager’s ground ball to the right side found Jose Altuve’s glove, and the second baseman quickly threw to first base for the final out.
Springer, who homered five times in the seven games, was the obvious pick as the World Series MVP. The game even had a marriage proposal as the Astros’ Carlos Correa got down on one knee after the game and presented his girlfriend with a ring. She said yes.
The Dodgers are still in search of their first World Series title in nearly 30 years. It’s been a long wait since 1988.
“It breaks your heart,” said a somber Dodger closer Kenley Jansen after it was over.
“We have such a young, talented group here that there’s no doubt in my mind, and everyone else’s mind, that we’ll be back,” added Bellinger.
Roberts told his club there was a lot to be proud of now that the season has ended. “We fell short,” he said. “That’s a good ball club over there. What we accomplished this season and to see these guys come together as a team (was great to see). They’re really a very special group of men. I told them to not hang their heads.”