Astros take first pennant in World Series

By NICHOLAS OSPINA
On November 1, 2017

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison, Wikipedia

The two greatest words in sports: “Game Seven,” in which both teams were prepared to leave everything out on the field for a winner take all ball game. Only one team could spray champagne as world champions.

A rematch of Game 3 starters, the Dodgers were hoping they’d get more from Yu Darvish after a horrible Game 3 performance, while the Astros were hoping for Lance McCullers Jr. to provide a steady and strong performance.

However, that wasn’t the case as the Astros wasted no time in hitting Darvish. Springer led things off in the top of the first with a leadoff double into left field. Alex Bregman followed suit by hitting a soft grounder to first but Cody Bellinger made a horrific throw that got past Darvish allowing Springer to score as he rounded third and allowing Bregman to go to second on the error. Altuve followed suit with hitting a soft groundout that allowed Bregman to score after he stole third. Darvish would later settle in retiring the next two batters. But the damage had been set with the Astros taking a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom half of the inning it seemed the Dodgers were going to tie up the game when Chris Taylor led the inning off with a double, and following a strikeout McCullers hit two of the next three batters loading up the bases with two outs. However McCullers got Joc Pederson to ground out to second to end the inning.

Darvish nightmare of a World Series wasn’t over yet as the second inning rolled around. After giving up a walk to Brian McCann to start off the inning, Marwin Gonzalez followed up by hitting a double to right field pushing the slow-footed McCann to third. The Astros now had runners on first and third with no one out. Darvish followed suit by getting two quick outs but then Springer came up to the plate looking to write his name into the record books of dynamic World Series performances. Springer demolished a three-run blast deep to centerfield, his fifth home run of the World Series. The Astros were then up 5-0.

And that was all she wrote for Darvish as Roberts had seen enough taking out his starter relieving him with Brandon Morrow, who has now pitched in every game in this World Series.

Darvish ended his night just having pitched one and two-third innings, giving up five earned runs, on three hits, walking one, and striking out none.

The bottom of the second showed to be shaky and heart aching to watch again as McCullers for the second straight inning played flirted with danger. Forsythe led the inning off with a single, and reached second as Barnes grounded out. Hernandez then came up to the plate pinch-hitting for Morrow got hit by a pitch. Now the Dodgers had runners at first and second with one out, but Taylor lined a ball right at Correa which allowed him to double off Forsythe as he had to go back to second.

In a surprising mood Roberts called upon Clayton Kershaw to come out of the bullpen pitching on short rest. It ended up being a dandy move as Kershaw was dominant keeping the score as was, giving his team a chance to come back.

Kershaw pitched four innings, giving up no runs, on just two hits, walking two, and striking out four.

The Astros as well turned to their bullpen as McCullers had seemed to lose all control during the third inning.

After giving up a leadoff single to Corey Seager and hitting Justin Turner the fourth batter he hit, McCullers would follow up by striking out Bellinger. But Hinch had seen enough and pulled McCullers calling upon Brad Peacock to relieve the pitching duties.

Peacock did just that as he got the next two outs ending the inning, and stranding the two runners he inherited.

Somehow the Astros were looking to get to Kershaw having loaded up the bases in the top of the sixth, after Kershaw gave up a leadoff single to Correa, and then with two outs intentionally walked back-to-back batters Gonzalez and pinch hitter Evan Gattis. However with pinch hitter Cameron Maybin up at the plate, Kershaw got just what he wanted getting him to pop out on the third base side.

Game would remain the same up till the bottom of the sixth, where the Dodgers finally were able to bring in runner. Hinch turned to starter Charlie Morton to come out of the bullpen to take on the sixth inning duties, but it got off to a shaky start the first two Dodgers reached base Pederson and Forsythe.

Morton quickly got Barnes to pop out, but pinch hitter Andre Ethier the longest tenured Dodger smacked an RBI single into right field that allowed Pederson to score from second finally putting the Astros on the board.

However, the Dodgers couldn’t decrease the deficit as Morton got Taylor to strike out and Seager to ground out to shortstop.

Finally getting onto the board Roberts turned to his closer to open up the seventh inning hoping that the Astros can’t add to their lead. Kenley Jansen did just that facing just four batters only giving up a walk to Altuve, but no runs scored.

Looking to trim the league, the Dodgers offense may have seemed to wake up after getting one run across the board in the inning prior, but that wasn’t the case.

Morton came back out to pitch the seventh and looked even more dominant. Morton retired the side in order with relative ease. The Dodgers at this point had stranded 10 men on base.

It was now a battle of the bullpen as Alex Wood, Game 4 starter, was called upon to relieve the eighth. Wood retired the side in order.

Morton was back out there to pitch the eighth, and it seemed he was getting better going deeper into the game. Morton once again retired the side in order.

Wood came out to pitch the ninth for the Dodgers, and he continued to look dominant as well retiring the side once again in order.

The Astros now found themselves just three outs away from winning the franchise’s first World Series.

Morton once again came back out into the ninth, and wasted no time striking out Chase Utley. Taylor followed up by grounding out to second. Seager would then end the game as he hit a sharp liner to the right, but with the shift on Altuve was in the right place to scoop up the grounder and fire to first. Final score 5-1.

The Houston Astros are now World Series Champions.

Morton went the final four innings for the Astros retiring the last 11 batters he faced.

Springer was named World Series MVP, or now known as the Willie Mays most valuable player award. Springer is the first recipient of the Willie May award, hitting five home runs in the series.

As commissioner Rob Manfred said, “It’s only fitting the award goes to a centerfielder.”

 

nospina@ramapo.edu

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