The heat in L.A. today was unusual. The performance on the field was not. In October, some teams feed of the crisp, autumn feeling in the air. These past two days, though, the Dodgers have thrived off the record temperatures in the great city of Los Angeles.
The World Series can get emotional, but boy was I unprepared for the start of tonight’s game. Dodgers legend Vin Scully, with the help of Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Yeager, threw out the first pitch. Vin Scully is one of the greatest storytellers in history, and tonight, Dodger fans were treated to one more iconic story.
On the mound for the Dodgers was Rich Hill, who has pitched twice so far in the postseason. On the hill for Houston was Justin Verlander, who was acquired just seconds before the August 31st deadline. He has been lights out for the Astros, going 9-0.
The game began with Hill walking the leadoff batter, George Springer, but he went on to retire the following three batters. Verlander followed with a 1-2-3 inning, as did Hill in the second. In the third, Hill gave up a single to Alex Bregman, scoring Josh Reddick, but went on to strike out Altuve and Correa to end the inning.
Verlander and Hill both pitched scoreless innings in the fourth. The Dodgers bullpen has been great this postseason, and Roberts was not afraid to turn the game over to it in the top of the fifth. In the bottom of the fifth, Verlander gave up a home run to Joc Pederson, who has been in search of a clutch hit, and the game was tied. The duo of Maeda and Watson pitched a scoreless sixth for the Dodgers, and Verlander came out to pitch the home half of the sixth for the Astros.
After walking Chris Taylor with two outs, Corey Seager, who missed the entirety of the NLCS due to a back injury, hit a home run off of Verlander, making it 3-1 Dodgers.
The Astros got one back in the eighth frame, by a Carlos Correa RBI single off of Kenley Jansen. In the ninth, the Astros tied it up with a home run from left fielder Marwin Gonzalez. Sending the game to the bottom of the frame, Ken Giles came on to pitch for the Astros. Giles began the inning by striking out Seager, and Justin Turner followed with a groundout to short. Cody Bellinger hit a loud fly out to Reddick for the third out.
As the game headed into the top of the 10th, Former Astro Josh Fields took the mound for the Dodgers. Leading off for Houston, Jose Altuve launched a go-ahead homer, and Correa followed with a solo homer of his own, giving the Astros a 5-3 lead.
Roberts went back to the pen, bringing in Tony Cingrani. After intentionally walking Marwin Gonzales, Cingrani was able to induce a double-play to end the inning.
Giles came back to pitch the home half of the 10th and gave up a homer to Yasiel Puig. He followed by striking out Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes, but walked Forsythe. Forsythe took second on a wild pitch to Hernandez, and then scored when Hernandez doubled into the gap in right field, making it a tie game.
With the game headed to the 11th, Brandon McCarthy came on to pitch for the Dodgers. Cameron Maybin singled, and then stole second. Springer followed with a two-run homer to center, giving the Astros the lead once more. After a foul out and two groundouts, the Dodgers ran off the field and into to the bottom of the eleventh, hoping for another round of late-inning heroics.
Chris Devenski stayed on to pitch the 11th for the Astros. Seager flew out to center fielder Maybin for the first out, bringing Turner to the plate. After Devinski retired Turner, Charlie Culberson came up to plate and hit it out, making it a one-run ballgame. Puig, the Wild Horse, stepped to the plate. Devinski struck him out.
Tonight, Houston won the franchise’s first-ever World Series game, and on Friday, the series will shift to Texas.
Though this was a tough loss for the Dodgers, it’s normal. The World Series has never been synonymous with the word “easy.” The Astros are a really good team, and so are the Dodgers.
This is what October is about, this is what it feels like. Sometimes that reminder comes at the times we hope it won’t, but it is a unarguable fact. October breeds great baseball. October breeds strength, and heroics.
Even when it doesn’t fall in our favor, it’s still beautiful, and it’s still real.
This is October in it’s greatest and purest form. I plan to embrace every second of it.
(Sarah is an eighteen-year-old from Southern California. She’s grown up a Dodger fan and her love for the team—as well as the game of baseball—has grown up with her. She’s now embarking on a year of writing, reading, and learning more about baseball before she leaves for college in 2018. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahManinger)