Whew! Who wasn’t out of breath after this one?
Only one team was still standing following Sunday’s epic battle between the Dodgers and Astros that took five hours and 17 minutes, included 14 pitchers who combined to throw 417 pitches, toss seven home runs, give up 28 hits and watch 25 players across home plate.
One can argue that no team deserved to lose in one of the most bizarre, tension-filled, jaw-dropping contests in World Series history. Houston was the last team standing, winning it 13-12 on a walk-off hit in the 10th inning.
“This whole series has been an emotional roller coaster,” said Dodger Manager Dave Roberts following the game. “It’s the two best teams playing for a championship. You’re not going to expect those guys to lay down. You saw what our guys did tonight – competed to the last out. It’s a credit to our guys. They (Houston) had big hits in big spots. And that’s what the World Series is all about. We knew this was the best offensive ball club we were going to see all year. They got the hit they needed.”
The knockout blow in the slugfest came off the bat of Alex Bregman against Dodger closer Kenley Jansen in the bottom of the 10th on an RBI single, breaking a 12-12 deadlock.
“Every time we take the field, we’re confident in our abilities,” said Bregman after the Houston victory. “We just found a way to scratch and claw like we’ve done all season long. This World Series has been an example of our season – just battling and picking each other up.”
The delirious Astros’ crowd chanted: “Beat LA, beat LA” as the winning run slid home with the final run of the game at 1:25 a.m. in Houston.
Five homers by the Astros at Minute Maid Park matched the most hit by a team in World Series History. Los Angeles contributed two of its own.
It marked the highest scoring game in 2017 postseason play. The combined 25 runs was the second highest combined team-scoring total in a World Series game, falling short only to the 29 recorded in 1993 when Toronto came on top over Philadelphia, 15-14.
With only five games in the books, the 22 home runs combined by both teams is a World Series record, breaking the 21 recorded by the Angels and Giants over seven games in 2002.
The Dodgers twice took sizeable leads, but the Astros battled back each time. The Astros found themselves in a 4-0 deficit against Los Angeles starter Clayton Kershaw, brought it back to even before tying it twice more on home runs.
L.A. hadn’t lost a game this year when it was up on opponents by four runs. But the Dodgers’ ace fell victim again to the postseason blues, which has haunted him throughout his career. It was another under underachieving performance in the postseason by Dodger starter Clayton Kershaw, who allowed six runs in just 4 2/3 innings. He gave his club a solid performance in the Dodgers’ 3-1 Series opening victory, but crumbled in his second outing against Houston and has allowed a post-season record eight home runs in October.
Los Angeles held a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning but couldn’t hold on as Houston’s Carlos Correa had an RBI double and Yuli Gurriel tied it with a three-run homer, making it 4-4. The Dodgers make it 7-4 in the top of the fifth on a Cody Billenger homer, but Houston battled back to tied it in the bottom half of the inning with three of its own. L.A. broke the tie with a run in the top of the seventh, but the Astros took a11-8 lead in the bottom half of the inning. Each team scored a run in the eighth and trailing 12-9, the Dodgers, showing no quit, tied it with three more in the ninth, including a two-run homer by Yasiel Puig and RBI single by Chris Taylor, setting up Houston’s wacky, dramatic come-from-behind victory.
Kershaw, who sat in the dugout with his head in his hands after being taken out of the game and giving up a three-run homer to the Astros Yuli Gurriel, is hopeful the Dodgers can comeback on Tuesday night in Game 6. “It’s not a matter of character or effort,” he said after Sunday’s loss and looking ahead to more dramatics at Dodger Stadium. “This clubhouse has shown time and time again they can overcome adversity.”