The Astros scored four runs in the second inning in Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night, ultimately holding on for a 5-3 victory over the Dodgers and taking control of the series with two more games remaining in Houston.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel started the fireworks in the second frame with a solo blast to left field to give the Astros the early edge. After a double off the bat of outfielder Josh Reddick and an Evan Gattis walk, left fielder Marwin Gonzalez singled off the wall in right-center to plate Reddick. Two more runs would score following a Brian McCann single and an Alex Bregman sacrifice fly, at which point Los Angeles starter Yu Darvish was chased from the game with the Dodgers trailing by four.
Righty long man Kenta Maeda relieved Darvish and worked his way out of trouble to limit the damage. Darvish recorded only five outs on 49 pitches.
There was a bit of controversy which preceded Darvish’s exit, as Gurriel appeared to slant his eyes with his fingers in a gesture which was allegedly intended to take a stab at the Japanese righty’s heritage.
Regardless, the damage was done by the Houston offense, which would be enough to seal the victory and give the Astros a 2-1 series lead.
In the top of the third inning, Houston starter Lance McCullers walked the bases loaded with nobody out, only to escape after surrendering just a single run. Designated hitter Joc Pederson scored on a double-play ground out by Corey Seager, but the Dodgers’ rally fizzled with a Justin Turner infield grounder to the left side. McCullers eventually settled in, as the Astros appeared to be cruising into the middle innings of the contest.
Maeda threw 2-2/3 impressive innings for the Dodgers, however, skipper Dave Roberts opted to bring in lefty Tony Watson in the bottom of the fifth. After a single by Reddick, Watson fielded a soft grounder off the bat of Gattis, and threw the ball off of the right field sidewall, which allowed Reddick to score—5-1 Astros after five frames.
In the top of the sixth, the Dodgers found themselves with runners on second and third base and nobody out following a Seager walk and a Justin Turner double. Next, first baseman Cody Bellinger struck out for the third time on the evening, but Seager would score after Yasiel Puig rolled a fielder’s choice to second base, which chased McCullers from the game. Righty Brad Peacock relieved McCullers, and promptly bounced a ball to the backstop which plated Turner, and cut the Astros’ lead to two. Pinch hitter Chase Utley pooped out in foul territory to end the Los Angeles threat.
Bellinger would eventually proceed to strike out four times on the evening.
Right-hander Brandon Morrow was a bit sketchy upon relieving Watson, but lasted into the seventh inning, at which point he was bailed out by a flyout induced by righty reliever Ross Stripling off the bat of George Springer.
Peacock would stay in the game through the finish, and recorded the save after allowing no hits and a walk while striking out four in 3-2/3 innings of work.
The Dodgers hope to regroup and attempt to even the series on Saturday evening when lefty Alex Wood squares off against veteran righty Charlie Morton. First pitch is scheduled for 5:20 p.m. Los Angeles time.
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