HOUSTON — Breaking down Game 5 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park:
Astros 13, Dodgers 12 (10 inn.): Astros lead series, 3-2.
The game: In one of the wildest games in World Series history, the Dodgers and Astros traded haymakers like a pair of heavyweights. And when the dust settled and all 43,300 fans at Minute Maid Park finally picked their jaws up off the floor, the American League champs moved one win away from the franchise’s first-ever title.
Alex Bregman drove home pinch-runner Derek Fisher from second base on a two-out single to provide the winning run in the bottom of the 10th.
In a game that featured six home runs, five by the Astros, Houston turned an 8-7 deficit into an 11-7 lead in the seventh inning with a four-run rally, keyed by homers (what else!) from George Springer and Carlos Correa.
But even with a three-run lead in the ninth, the beleaguered Houston bullpen couldn’t close it out. Yasiel Puig hit a two-run homer and Chris Taylor followed with an RBI single to tie the game at 12.
So many things made this Game 5 memorable. An expected pitcher’s duel between two Cy Young Award winners never materialized as both Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel were knocked out before either could complete five innings.
The Dodgers jumped out to a four-run lead, only to have the Astros’ Yuli Gurriel come back to tie on the first of the game’s World Series record three three-run homers.
Cody Bellinger untied it with a three-run shot in the top of the fifth – only to have Jose Altuve tie it back up again with a frenzy-inducing one of his own in the bottom of the inning.
The 22 total home runs these two teams have hit in just five games ties a World Series record broke the previous record of 21 by the Giants and Angels in their seven-game affair in 2002.
The time of game was 5:17.
Men of the moment: The Astros hit five home runs, but no hit was bigger than Bregman’s base hit off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.
The heroes were many for the Astros.
Springer could have just as easily been the goat after he dove for but missed Cody Bellinger’s line drive in the top of the seventh. The ball got past him for an RBI triple that put the Dodgers ahead 8-7. But Springer tied things up himself with a homer in the bottom of the inning.
Correa also had three hits, including the go-ahead blast in the seventh.
Altuve hit a game-tying homer in the fifth to go with a single, a double and three runs scored.
And Gurriel pulled the Astros even in the fourth with a three-run blast of his own.
Game 5 pivot point: Only because the Astros ended up winning, the seventh inning will be forever remembered in Astros history as one of the franchise’s most magical moments.
Trailing by a run with the Dodgers’ Brandon Morrow on the mound for the fifth time in six days, Springer connected for a 448-foot blast that reached the train tracks and conjured memories of Albert Pujols’ titanic homer off Brad Lidge in the 2005 NLCS.
After a single by Alex Bregman and an RBI double from Jose Aluve, Correa put the exclamation point on the rally with a majestic, towering home run into the Crawford Boxes in left.
Correa’s homer had a launch angle of 48 degrees, the highest for any home run this season.
Manager’s special: With his bullpen in total disarray, Astros skipper A.J. Hinch had nowhere else to turn when he needed someone to get the final three outs.
He said before the game it would be unlikely closer Ken Giles would get a save opportunity after taking the loss in Game 4.
Even with a three-run lead, there was still a sense of trepidation among Astros fans when Chris Devenski walked out to the mound for the top of the ninth inning.
He entered the game with a 7.11 ERA in the postseason, but had yielded just one earned run in 3 1/3 innings in the World Series.
When Devenski allowed a two-run homer to Yasiel Puig to cut the Astros lead to one, Hinch got both Giles and left-hander Francisco Liriano up in the bullpen. However, he stuck with Devenski to pitch to Chris Taylor with the tying run on second.
Taylor came through with an RBI single to tie the game at 12.
Needing a mulligan: After both Kershaw and Keuchel pitched so well in Game 1, they would love to have a chance to redeem themselves for their performances on Sunday night.
In a game Houston hoped to have Keuchel pitch into the late innings, he threw 32 pitches and gave up three runs in the first. When he was pulled after allowing another run in the fourth, it marked the first time in his career Keuchel failed to pitch at least four innings in a start at Minute Maid Park.
Kershaw with a four-run lead is as close to a lock as there is in major league baseball. In his career (regular and postseason) Kershaw has 100-1 record.
But his one weakness in this year’s playoffs – the home run ball – bit him once again. Gurriel tied things up in the fourth and Kershaw exited after walking consecutive batters with two outs in the fifth.
This October, Kershaw has allowed eight home runs, the most by any pitcher in any single postseason.
As poorly as they fared, there’s still a chance either (or both) of the Game 5 starters could get that second chance. Keuchel threw 86 pitches and Kershaw 94. Both could be available in relief if the series should go to a seventh game.
State of the Series: As the two teams head back to Los Angeles, the Astros need just one more win to secure a World Series title.
Game 6 at Dodger Stadium will feature another pitching rematch, this time of Game 2 starters Justin Verlander of the Astros and Rich Hill of the Dodgers.
Verlander gave up a pair of homers in six innings and was in line to take the loss before the Astros bats came alive in a game Houston went on to win 7-6 in 11 innings.
Hill was removed after pitching four effective innings in a move that brought some criticism to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
He hopes to have a longer leash this time around.
“Speaking as a player you say, yes, but you have to look outside yourself and look at the team and see what’s most valuable for the team,” Hill said before Game 5.
“Going out there in Game 6 and having the ability to be in that position and go out there and leave everything on the field is just an amazing thought.”
What you missed on TV: After Correa’s home run sent the crowd at Minute Maid into yet another moment of hysteria, a crazed fan jumped out onto the field. He was tackled by security just behind second base and escorted out of a gate down the right-field line.
The delay gave the Dodgers plenty of time to get reliever Tony Cingrani into the game.
Best of the 2017 World Series
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