The Houston Astros are one win away from the first World Series championship in franchise history.
Sunday night at Minute Maid Park, the Astros came from behind three times — three times! — to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in 10 innings in Game 5 of the World Series (HOU 13, LAD 12) to take a 3-2 series lead. The series shifts back to Dodger Stadium for Game 6 on Tuesday.
Here are 11 things to know about Game 5.
Keuchel couldn’t find the zone early, and it cost him
After putting up five runs in the ninth inning in Game 4, the Dodgers opened Game 3 with the three runs in the first inning. And Dallas Keuchel helped them by allowing a leadoff single to Chris Taylor, then walking Justin Turner and Enrique Hernandez to load the bases.
The Dodgers added a third run in the first inning when Hernandez essentially stole home. Yuli Gurriel’s throw from first base pulled Jose Altuve off the second base bag on Forsythe’s steal attempt, which gave Hernandez enough time to race home from third. It was scored an error on Gurriel and the run was unearned. Regardless of the scoring, the run counted and it gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.
Los Angeles forced Keuchel to throw 32 pitches in that three-run first inning, and they added a fourth run in the fourth inning on an Austin Barnes single. Forsythe set that one up with a double into the left-center field gap. That fourth run ended Keuchel’s evening.
Game 5 was the first time Keuchel failed to complete at least four innings in a home start in his career, if you can believe that. The good news? He threw only 86 pitches, so Keuchel should be available out of the bullpen in Game 7, should the series go the distance. Keuchel will surely spend the next few days hoping he gets a chance to redeem himself. Actually, he’d prefer the ‘Stros win Game 6 so he doesn’t have to worry about redeeming himself in Game 7.
Kershaw blew it
For the first three innings of Game 5, Clayton Kershaw looked sharp and in total control of the game. Then the Dodgers had a long offensive top of the fourth, and when Kershaw came out for the bottom half, he had trouble locating. He walked leadoff man George Springer, then he fell behind in the count 3-1 to Alex Bregman, the next batter.
The Astros got on the board following an Altuve single and a Carlos Correa double, which brought Springer home. That put men on second and third with one out, and brought the tying run to the plate. That tying run at the plate: Gurriel. He atoned for his first inning error — and brutal Game 4 performance — with a monster game-tying three-run home run. To the video:
A Gurriel game-tying home run against Kershaw in the World Series is sure to generate some takes, huh?
Kershaw has now allowed a home run in 10 consecutive starts, far and away the longest such streak of his career. He’d never allowed a home run in more than four consecutive starts coming into 2017. Kershaw has also allowed the most homers in a single postseason in history.
Every pitcher is home run prone these days, but still, Kershaw’s recently homer issues have to be concerning for the Dodgers. Then again, this was his final start of 2017, so I guess that’s something to worry about next year. Or in a potential Game 7, should he come out of the bullpen.
Bellinger picked Kershaw up
Does anyone out there still believe in momentum in baseball? Going into the bottom of the fourth, the Astros had nothing cooking at all. Then they hung a four spot on Kershaw. All the momentum was on Houston’s side!
Then, in the top of the fifth, the Dodgers answered right back with three runs to regain the lead. The momentum went from all Dodgers to all Astros to all Dodgers in two half-innings. The suddenly red hot Cody Bellinger had the big blow in that fifth inning. He launched a three-run dinger against Collin McHugh:
At 22 years and 108 days, Bellinger is the youngest player to hit a home run in the World Series in more than a decade. Here are the last five players that age or younger to go deep in the Fall Classic:
- Miguel Cabrera, Marlins: 2003 Game 4 (20 years and 187 days)
- Andruw Jones, Braves: 1996 Game 1 (19 years and 180 days) (two homers)
- Tony Kubek, Yankees: 1957 Game 3 (21 years and 358 days) (two homers)
- Mickey Mantle, Yankees: 1953 Game 5 (21 years and 359 days)
- Mickey Mantle, Yankees: 1953 Game 2 (21 years and 353 days)
Bellinger was the 13th different player to hit a home run in this World Series, tying the all-time record set in 1953.
Altuve picked McHugh up
Oops, the Astros took the momentum back in the bottom of the fifth. Gurriel hit a three-run homer to tie the game 4-4 in the bottom of the fourth. Bellinger hit a three-run homer to give the Dodgers a 7-4 lead in the top of the fifth. Then Altuve cranked a three-run home run to tie the game 7-7 in the bottom of the fifth. Goodness.
Here’s the video of Altuve’s game-tying blast:
Kenta Maeda, who gave up the home run, threw 2 2/3 innings and 42 pitches in Game 3 on Friday night. His stuff looked awfully flat in Game 5. He couldn’t get anyone to bite on the slider and his fastball was grooved more often than not. Altuve missed a few meatballs that at-bat before hitting the homer, which closed the book on Kershaw.
That was home run No. 7 of the postseason for the likely AL MVP. Altuve hit seven home runs total during the 2014 regular season. Only three players have hit more home runs in a single postseason than Mr. Altuve this year.
Bonds, Beltran, and Cruz all hit eight home runs in their record postseasons. Altuve has at least one more game to try to join the “eight homers in a single postseason” club.
Springer giveth, Springer taketh
Gurriel made up for his first inning error with a fourth inning home run. Springer made up for a misplay in the top of the seventh with a game-tying home run in the bottom of the seventh. He made an ill-advised dive on Bellinger’s line drive to center, missed the ball completely, allowing it to roll to the wall and Hernandez to score all the way from first. The Dodgers led 8-7.
Springer was playing deep trying to prevent the extra-base hit, then he attempted the dive coming in on the ball rather than pulling up to hold Bellinger to a single. Not his finest moment in the field.
However, on Brandon Morrow’s first pitch in the bottom of the seventh, Springer made up for the misplay with a looong home run. Tie game. Again.
Morrow, who was truly outstanding this season, was pitching for the third straight day and fifth time in the last six days in Game 5. Keep in mind this is a guy with a lengthy injury history. He was at best on fumes and at worst completely burnt out. Morrow threw six pitches in Game 5.
- Springer solo home run (111.9 mph exit velocity)
- Bregman single (85.2 mph exit velocity)
- Called strike on Altuve
- Altuve double (107.0 mph exit velocity)
- Ball to Correa
- Correa two-run home run (105.8 mph exit velocity)
Homer, single, double, homer to four batters. In the span of six Morrow pitches, the Astros went from trailing 8-7 to leading 11-8. Correa’s reaction rounding first base after his home run is a must-see:
What a fun and wild game. And it wasn’t even close to over after Correa’s homer.
The Astros bullpen gave it up
The Correa home run gave the Astros an 11-8 lead, but if you’ve watched this series, you knew that lead was far from safe. Not with three outs to go. A Corey Seager run-scoring double and a Brian McCann solo homer turned an 11-8 game into a 12-9 game in the eighth, and the Astros took that 12-9 lead into the ninth inning.
With Ken Giles , Chris Devenski was the man charged with getting three outs before giving up three runs. He couldn’t do it. A leadoff walk to Bellinger and a two-run homer by Yasiel Puig cut Houston’s lead to 12-11. Barnes hustled a one-out double, moved up on Joc Pederson’s ground out, then scored on Taylor’s two-out, two-strike single back up the middle.
What a comeback. You could say that for about four different moments in this game, but man, what a ninth inning for the Dodgers. The Barnes play was crucial. Most players hold up at first base on his single to center. He put his head down and ran like crazy out of the box, and slid in safely ahead of the tag. That set up Taylor for the game-tying single.
The Astros bullpen from Keuchel’s exit through the ninth inning: 5 1/3 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 4 BB, 8 K. That is: bad. The Los Angeles bullpen wasn’t much better — they allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings from Kershaw’s exit through the ninth — though this has been an ongoing problem for the ‘Stros all postseason. Manager A. J. Hinch trusts so few relievers right now that he used Brad Peacock for 1 1/3 innings and 39 pitches in Game 5 after he threw 3 2/3 innings and 53 pitches in Game 3 on Friday.
Once again, the Astros rallied
The 2017 postseason has been Bregman’s coming out party. He’s been brilliant on defense and he’s hit four home runs, all huge. The pitchers for those four homers: Chris Sale (twice), Kershaw, and Kenley Jansen.
Bregman got to Jansen again in Game 5, except not for a homer. He provided the Astros with the walk-off single in the 10th inning off an obviously gassed Jansen, who was in his second inning of work. McCann took a pitch to the forearm and moved to second on a Springer walk to set up the walk-off hit. Here’s the video:
Down 4-0? Down 7-4? Down 8-7? None of it mattered. The Astros came back three times before winning in 10 innings.
The Astros did two things that had only been done once before
Down 4-0 and facing Kershaw? That is not a good place to be. And yet, the Astros managed to come back and win Game 5. It’s only the second time ever the Dodgers lost a game when giving Kershaw at least four runs of support. Here are the numbers going into Game 5:
Goodness gracious. But wait! There’s more. The Astros also became the second team ever to come back from multiple three-run deficits in a World Series game. The Phillies did it in 1993.
That 15-14 game in 1993 is still the highest scoring game in World Series history.
Several home run records were set
Seven — seven! — home runs were hit in Game 5, which helped set several records. A recap:
- 14 different players have gone deep in the World Series, a new record.
- 22 total home runs have been hit in the World Series, a new record.
- 101 home runs have been hit in the postseason overall, a new record.
- Three three-run home runs hit in Game 5, a new record.
There is still at least one more to go, remember.
Correa and Hernandez made history
In Game 5, Correa and Hernandez teamed up to make World Series cleanup hitter history:
That comes after Correa and Didi Gregorius became the first set of shortstops to bat cleanup in a game in postseason history back during the ALCS. Pretty neat.
The Astros have the edge
According to WhoWins.com, teams with a 3-2 lead in the World Series went on to win the series 67.7 percent of the time, historically. Here is some more historical perspective:
That’s where the Astros find themselves right now. They won Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead, and based on history, they have a two in three chance to win the whole thing. They’re not guaranteed to win, of course. But having to win one of the next two rather than both of the next two is a big advantage.
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