Dodgers Handle Astros in Game 6, Force Decisive Game 7 at Home on Wednesday

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(Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP)

Before Game 6 even began on Tuesday evening, outfielder Yasiel Puig guaranteed fans of the Dodgers that there would indeed be a Game 7 on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. His promise ultimately held true, as Los Angeles held on for a 3-1 victory which tied the 2017 World Series at three games apiece.

Starter Justin Verlander was effective early, but once again the Dodgers’ offense struck in the sixth inning to force manager A.J. Hinch into his bullpen.

Austin Barnes led off the sixth frame with a single to left, and Chase Utley, fresh off being inserted into the game on a double-switch, was hit on the foot by a Verlander slider to put runners on first and second with nobody out. One batter later, Chris Taylor doubled on a flare to right field which scored Barnes. Corey Seager followed with a sacrifice fly to deep right-center that plated Utley, giving the Dodgers their first lead of the evening. Verlander eventually wiggled his way out of the jam allowing only two runs, but that was all the scoring the Dodgers would need.

George Springer gave Houston an early 1-0 lead with an opposite field solo shot in the top of the third, at which point Verlander and the Astros appeared to look tough to beat. It would be Springer’s third straight game with a long ball, and his fourth of the World Series. But skipper Dave Roberts, after being frequently criticized throughout the series for his bullpen management, was masterful with the usage of his relief corps on this night.

Righty Brandon Morrow, appearing in his thirteenth game of the postseason, relieved Hill in the top of the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs to successfully retire the Houston side. Southpaw Tony Watson succeeded Morrow in the sixth, but ran into trouble of his own in the seventh after a leadoff walk to outfielder Josh Reddick. Roberts then called upon right-hander Kenta Maeda, whose flurry of stellar sliders were just too much for the Astros’ bats.

To provide a bit of insurance in the bottom of the seventh frame, Joc Pederson hit a solo home run over the wall in left field to stretch the lead to 3-1. The blast was Pederson’s third of the series, and his second to the opposite field.

All-World closer Kenley Jansen entered the game in the top of the eighth inning, and threw two perfect frames of baseball to earn his second-ever six-out save, but more importantly, seal the win for the Dodgers and force a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday night.

Watson was credited with the victory, and Verlander registered the loss.

All hand will be on deck for both clubs in Game 7, as righty Yu Darvish is slated to square off against Houston right-hander Lance McCullers Jr.

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

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