Managerial great Earl Weaver summed up last night’s game years ago when he said this about baseball over 30 years ago:
“You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You’ve got to throw the ball over the damn plate and five the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game of them all.” – Earl Weaver
For indeed the Dodgers thought they were “killing the clock” when they brought in Kenley Jansen in the 8th inning. The Dodgers were 98-0 this season counting playoffs when leading after 8. Yes – the lead was down to 3-2 after the 8th but Jansen had finished the 8th inning strong.
Then came Marwin Gonzalez for the Astros. He became just the 10th player to hit a game tying home run in the 9th inning of a World Series game. Onto extra innings.
Let’s back up for a minute. In Game 1 Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel treated fans to a pitching masterpiece – a game that finished in under 2 and a half hours with Kershaw striking out 11. Justin Turner of the Dodgers homered, as well as Chris Taylor and that provided their offense. Kershaw went 7, the Dodgers bullpen finished the rest.
Dodgers legend Vin Scully gave us all the chills as he “emceed” the first pitch ceremony before the game and led the crowd in saying “It’s Time for Dodger Baseball” as he did for so many years.
Game 2 started out pretty similar to Game 1. The Astros scored early on a ball that center fielder Chris Taylor dove for – but it hit the bill of his cap keeping it from being extra bases. Seemed like a good omen for the Dodgers. Astros ace Justin Verlander was in command and didn’t allow a hit until Joc Pederson homered off of him in the 5th to tie the game at 1. Then the Dodgers Corey Seager homered in the 6th with a runner on to give the Dodgers a 2 run lead once again. In the city of scripts – this one seemed one to be moving right along on schedule. Yet like any great movie, sometimes the best ones have the twists you don’t see coming.
The first audience gasp would come in the 8th inning. Alex Bregman hit a ground rule double on a ball that Yasiel Puig came oh-so-close to catching but was just beyond his outstretched glove. Jansen came in but Correa singled to bring him home and make it a run game.
Last we left the action up top the game was tied and headed into extra innings. At this point Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts had used through his “top shelf” relievers and was going down into B grade. Josh Fields got the call first. It didn’t go well. The Astros main guys Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa hit back to back home runs to give the Astros a 2 run lead. The teams headed to the bottom of the 10th, but like finding out Bruce Willis is dead in The Sixth Sense, the plot twists weren’t done just yet. The Astros, if they were a football team, would’ve taken a knee here with the lead. This is baseball though – and you have to make the outs.
With the Astros stars making a dent in the top of the 10th, it was the Dodgers Yasiel Puig who kicked things off for the Dodgers hitting a laser to the left and once again bringing the Dodgers within one. In a great Puig touch, he gently placed his bat down along the first base line instead of a typical dramatic bat flip.
After a walk and wild pitch, Game 4 NLCS hero Enrique Henriquez singled to right and tied the game up – again! The Dodgers had the winning run on second and the Astros changed pitchers. He first turned for a pick off and his throw was off line. But it hit the umpire – and did not go into the outfield. Perhaps the cosmic baseball gods were repaying the Astros after the tip of the cap saved the Dodgers earlier.
In the top of the 11th, the Astros just kept things going, this time against Brandon McCarthy. After a single and stolen base, George Springer homered to right center field to give the Astros one more two run lead. Could this one hold? Now the Astros can just bleed the clock, right? Wrong.
Budding Dodgers post season legend Justin Turner smoked one with one out but it was caught for the second out of the interview. Charlie Culberson – Charlie Culberson – homered with two outs to get the Dodgers within one and bring up Yasiel Puig once again. Can the Dodgers redeemed hero do it again? After a 9 pitch battle, Puig struck out. It was over. Fade to black until the World Series 2017 franchise turns into a trilogy Friday night in Houston.
Baseball boring? Predictable? On a warm fall night in Los Angeles, 38 players gave us a night to remember – and this is only Game 2.