Houston Astros win first-ever world series in wild fashion
Eric Parks, Staff Writer
In one of the most entertaining World Series games ever, the Houston Astros knocked off the Los Angeles Dodgers for the franchise’s first championship. This series featured incredible performances by pitchers and batters from both teams, but at the end of seven games, the Astros were able to secure a World Series win for Houston.
Coming into the World Series, Los Angeles was the clear favorite. L.A. was 7-1 in the playoffs and were coming off an MLB-best 104 win season, while Houston was barely able to knock off the resurging Yankees in a seven-game ALCS matchup. Additionally, the Dodgers were 57-24 at home in the regular season and 4-0 in the playoffs, and had home field advantage for the World Series. The first game went according to LA’s plan as the Dodgers won 3-1 on a sweltering 103 degree evening. Justin Turner scored a two-run homer in the sixth to give the Dodgers the lead. Turner’s home run supported the incredible pitching of Clayton Kershaw, who struck out eleven Houston batters and gave up just one run in seven innings. Game two, however, served as Houston’s proof that they belonged in the World Series. Facing a 3-1 deficit at the top of the eighth, the Astros fought back to win a home run duel 7-6 in extra innings. The victory silenced critics who thought that Houston wasn’t going to be able to win on the road.
Heading back to Houston for game three, the Astros won 5-3 in an impressive performance by pitcher Lance McCullers, who gave up one run in just over five innings. Houston took the lead early by scoring four in the second inning, and their pitching never let the Dodgers come back. Down 2-1 in the series, Los Angeles needed to win game four to avoid facing an elimination game on the road. Both teams’ pitchers played excellently, and the score was 1-1 at the end of eight innings. Los Angeles proceeded to explode in the ninth inning, scoring five runs, including a three-run homer from Joc Pederson. With the series tied at 2-2, each team wanted to win game five badly before returning to Los Angeles. It took the Astros ten innings and 13 points, but they managed to beat the Dodgers by one run in one of the most thrilling games in the history of playoff baseball. The Astros and Dodgers combined to hit seven home runs before Alex Bregman hit a walk-off single with Derek Fisher scoring from second base to win.
Facing a game six elimination in Los Angeles, Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig guaranteed a seventh game to his fans. LA followed through on their star’s promise, beating the Astros 3-1 thanks to a two-run sixth inning and incredible pitching. The loss was Houston pitcher Justin Verlander’s first of the playoffs. Heading into game seven, the Dodgers were the favorites to win at home. Many experts were concerned about Houston’s pitching, saying that their bullpen didn’t have a fresh arm to combat the Los Angeles batters. The Astros, however, had other plans. Relying mostly on a pitching trio of Lance McCullers, Brad Peacock and Charlie Morton, the Astros were able to prevent the Dodgers from scoring more than one run through nine innings while scoring five in the first two innings themselves. The Dodgers had no trouble getting on base, but the Houston defense prevented hits from turning into runs en route to the franchise’s first World Series win. In the end, the Dodgers weren’t able to keep up with the Astros’ ambitions of winning a championship for a city that needed a morale boost after Hurricane Harvey cost the city several lives and billions in damage. While a World Series win doesn’t make up for the tragedy, it can certainly help the people of Houston feel better about the place they call home.