11 innings. 4 hours, 19 minutes. 8 home runs. A grass fire near the stadium. A wildfire in the Dodgers’ bullpen. HEY-O!!!!! A blown lead by the Dodgers. A blown lead by the Astros. A hat brim saving at least one run. A pickoff throw hitting an ump, saving at least one base. A moron fan jumping into the bullpen. And a ton of Jungle Karma. I guess what I’m saying is: that was one hell of a Game 2.
Even Dodger fans, as distraught as they may be feeling waking up after that, have to admit, that was an awesome game. I don’t care what you paid to get into the stadium; you got your money’s worth. And if you were watching at home, your TV just paid for itself in one night, because you’ll never see a better game than that. Maybe, maybe you’ll see one that comes close, but for sheer drama and insanity, you’ll never see one that tops it.
Where should I start? How about with the Pride of ABQ Alex Bregman coming up with two men on in the third and smoking one between Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor. It looked like that was headed for the wall and serious trouble for the Dodgers. Except it didn’t because the ball goes off Chris Taylor’s hat and saves a run. Maybe two because Bregman can fly. And that was just the start of the insanity.
Two innings later, Justin Verlander is carrying a no-hitter and facing Joc Pederson, who Dave Roberts put into the lineup because he liked his matchup against a power pitcher. And sure enough, this happened.
That was his first home run in nearly three months and it came in Game 2 of the World Series to break up a no-hitter. And then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Taylor walked, which meant there was a man on when Corey Seager came to the plate.
This is classic postseason Dodgers baseball – Chris Taylor gets on base, someone behind him homers, and suddenly they’ve got the lead, and then the bullpen slams the door. And it looked like that’s what was going to happen here. Ross Stripling got into a little trouble with a walk in the seventh, but Brandon Morrow came in and ended the inning. Knowing LA, there were probably a few Dodger fans who were heading to the exit at that point. They’ve seen this movie before. They know how the Dodgers bully works, except that didn’t happen.
Down 3-1 in the 8th, Bregman came to the plate again, who hits a double after Yasiel Puig can’t make the diving. If Puig does make it, it’s one of the all-time great defensive plays. I’m not sure how many guys get over there to even have a chance to dive for it, let alone catch it. But that was enough to bring Kenley Jansen into the game. And that’s where things got interesting, because after Jose Altuve moved Bregman to third, Carlos Correa came up 3-2 Astros. And that set the stage for this, in the ninth inning, when Marwin Gonzalez faced Jansen with an 0-2 count. Tie game. Free baseball.
And in the top of the 10th, Dave Roberts turned to Josh Fields, who seemed determined to give free baseballs to everyone. The first batter he faced was Jose Altuve.
The second batter he faced was Correa.
5-3 Astros. And the third batter, Yuli Gurriel doubled before Fields was taken out of the game. Fast forward to the bottom of the 10th.
Puig leads off against Ken Giles with a solo shot. It left in such a hurry that Giles didn’t even bother to turn to look. And Puig, in classic Puig form, simply placed his bat on the ground and jogged around the bases.
Giles struck out the next two batters, so he needed just one more out. But then he walked Logan Forsythe, chucked a wild pitch to get him to second, and then Kike Hernandez did what Kike Hernandez has done all postseason, get a hit. Tie game.
Let’s go to the 11th. Cameron Maybin led it off for the Astros with a single, stole second, and here comes George Springer.
7-5 Astros. Let’s go to the bottom of the 11th. Seager hits a hard liner to center that’s caught. Justin Turner hits an even harder liner to third that’s caught. And then Charlie Culberson goes deep, making it 7-6. Which means that Yasiel Puig was coming to the plate, with two outs in the bottom of the 11th, to tie it. He fell behind 0-2, then worked a full count, and the way this game was going, he was bound to homer, right? Wrong. He struck out.
Game over. Astros win. What a game and what a series.