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 MLB baseball: Houston Astros defeat Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7 to end 55-year championship drought

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PostSubject: MLB baseball: Houston Astros defeat Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7 to end 55-year championship drought   Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:24 am

darvish lost this lol. I wanted the Dodgers to win

kershaw did good, should have started

"Most of the time, [I think] it could happen to anybody, the bad days and the good days," Darvish said through an interpreter. "If I had bad days, that means somebody had a great day. I try to think of it that way, and sometimes it works. Maybe this time it didn't work because I let my teammates down."


Astros defeat Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7 to end 55-year championship drought

The Astros came into existence in 1962. In 2017, they won their first ever championship, defeating the Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7.

George Springer wins World Series MVP, ties record with five homers

Springer was an easy choice for the Willie Mays World Series Most Valuable Player Award, after hitting .379 (11-for-29) with five home runs and seven RBIs. His eight extra-base hits were the most ever in a World Series, and he is the first player to homer in four straight games within a single World Series, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Upon receiving his MVP award, Springer spoke about how the Series victory was especially meaningful both for the franchise and the city.

"This is a dream come true and an honor," Springer said. "But it's about the Houston Astros tonight, our city, our fans. That patch on our chests really does mean something. We're coming home champions."

Springer's record-tying homer on Wednesday came off a 3-2 fastball from Dodgers starter Yu Darvish. It gave the Astros a 5-0 lead in the second inning, knocking Darvish from the game.

"I remember swinging and hearing the sound of the bat," Springer said of the homer. "And I knew it was a good sound.

"It's a very surreal feeling because this is Game 7. This is what you dream of as a kid. And for that to happen is indescribable."

Springer matched Reggie Jackson (1977) and Chase Utley (2009) for the record of five home runs in one World Series, although Jackson and Utley did it in a six-game Series. Springer, who doubled and scored in the first inning, also had 29 total bases in the World Series, breaking the record of 25 shared by Willie Stargell (1979) and Jackson. Springer also passed Stargell for the most extra-base hits in a World Series with seven, becoming the first player to have had at least one extra-base hit in six straight World Series games.

Springer's first four home runs of the Series each tied the score or gave the Astros the lead.

Consider the clutch factor of his home runs:

Game 2: Hit a two-run homer off Brandon McCarthy in the top of the 11th to give the Astros a 7-5 lead in an eventual 7-6 victory.

Game 4: Gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning, when he broke up Alex Wood's no-hitter with a home run way out to left field off a 3-1 curveball.

Game 5: In the wild 13-12 win for the Astros, his seventh-inning homer -- a 112 mph laser estimated at 448 feet -- off Brandon Morrow tied the game at 8.

Game 6: Made it 1-0 in the third inning with an opposite-field shot off Rich Hill.

Game 7: With two outs in the second inning, his 438-foot two-run shot broke open a 3-0 game to give the Astros some early breathing room.

Springer's World Series actually got off to an inauspicious start. After going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in Game 1, he said teammate Carlos Beltran pulled him aside.

"He told me to go out and enjoy the moment," Springer said of Beltran. "He's played for 20 years, and this is his second time here. He told me to relax, be myself and enjoy it."

Maybe it is fitting that Springer has turned into a World Series hero for the Astros. A first-round pick out of the University of Connecticut in 2011, it was Springer who appeared on the infamous Sports Illustrated cover in 2014 that declared the Astros "Your 2017 World Series champs." The Astros were mired in a 92-loss season that year, a season that actually was a big improvement over their three previous years, when the Astros had lost 100-plus games as the front office rebuilt the team from scratch.

"When you get to spring, you know who you have. You know what you have," Springer said. "You think you can do it, but 162 games is a lot of games, and a lot has to go right. ... Getting down 3-2 to a very good New York team, a lot of things happened for us. I'm just proud to bring a championship to city that desperately needed it."

For this entire postseason, Springer had six home runs, all from the leadoff spot, tying Lenny Dykstra's postseason record for home runs by a leadoff hitter.

The Astros set a World Series record with 15 home runs as a team.

Springer's Game 7 shot closed the door on a World Series to forget for Darvish. The Dodgers righty is just the second pitcher ever to fail to complete the second inning in multiple starts within the same World Series. The other is Art Ditmar, who did so for the New York Yankees in Games 1 and 5 of the 1960 World Series. Darvish induced just four swing-and-misses in his 96 total pitches thrown in the Series.

Springer wasn't the only member of the Astros to make history on Wednesday night.

Houston's Lance McCullers Jr. became the first pitcher to hit four batters in any postseason game, plunking Yasiel Puig and Kike Hernandez once each and Justin Turner twice. According to Elias Sports Bureau, McCullers also became the first pitcher to hit four batters within the first three innings of any game, regular season or postseason, since 2000; coincidentally, it was Dodgers starter Orel Hershiser who hit four Astros in that game.

On Wednesday, McCullers was pulled one batter after hitting Turner for the second time, finishing with three strikeouts, four hit batters and no runs allowed in 2⅓ innings. He turned in the second shortest scoreless start in a World Series winner-take-all game; the shortest appearance was by Curly Ogden (one-third of an inning) of the 1924 Washington Senators.

McCullers left after striking out Cody Bellinger, who swung his way into history, as well. Bellinger's third-inning strikeout was his 16th of the Series, tying him with the Yankees' Aaron Judge (2017 American League Division Series) for the most K's in any single postseason series. Bellinger then claimed the record outright with his 17th strikeout after going down looking against Charlie Morton in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Bellinger, who hit the second-most home runs in the National League this season with 39, was baffled by McCullers, going 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in the World Series against the right-hander. Bellinger whiffed on nine of his 12 swings against McCullers in the Series, and of the 19 total pitches he saw from McCullers, 18 were curveballs.


















How the Astros dominated Yu Darvish (again) to put Game 7 away early
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4:14 AM ET

David SchoenfieldESPN Senior Writer

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LOS ANGELES -- The 2017 season ended with Charlie Morton throwing a 96 mph fastball to Corey Seager, Seager hitting a ground ball to Jose Altuve, Altuve throwing the ball to Yuli Gurriel and then all the Houston Astros charging in from the bullpen and the dugout, their orange jerseys swarming the field at Dodger Stadium. It was a beautiful thing to see -- a baseball celebration.

The story of Game 7 and the Astros' 5-1 clinching victory, however, begins in the top of the first inning and with the first batter. George Springer walked up to the plate, said a few words to Austin Barnes as he put a hand on the catcher's shoulder -- words about good luck and admiration for what had been an exhilarating first six games -- and then dug in to face Yu Darvish, the hired arm acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers to help them win the World Series.

Eight pitches later, it was a 2-0 game. Springer doubled into the left-field corner on a 1-1 slider and scored when first baseman Cody Bellinger threw away Alex Bregman's little bouncer. Bregman would steal third and score on another grounder.

When Springer stepped in again in the top of the second, it was 3-0 and Darvish was on the ropes. There were two outs, a runner on, Brandon Morrow warming up in the bullpen. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts let Darvish face Springer.

Springer got ahead in the count with two balls ... or Darvish fell behind in the count: I guess the wording depends on how you want this story to read. Springer took a fastball for a strike, a curveball inside and missed at a slider.

The next pitch was Darvish's 47th of the game -- his 96th of the World Series -- and almost certainly the last one he'll throw as a Dodger. It was a 96 mph fastball, low in the zone and middle of the plate. Springer absolutely unloaded, belting a 438-foot laser out to left-center, his record-tying fifth home run of the World Series.

"I remember swinging and hearing the sound of the bat. I knew it was a good sound," Springer said. "Then I saw the flight of the ball. And I got to first base and I rounded third, and got home and that's a crazy feeling. It's a very surreal feeling because this is Game 7."
John McCoy/Zumapress/Icon Sportswire

It was 5-0 and the Dodgers never recovered. Springer had one of the greatest individual performances in World Series history. He set a record with 29 total bases, and his previous four home runs had either tied the score or put the Astros ahead. He hit the go-ahead home run in the 11th inning of Game 2 and he finished with a batting line of .379/.471/1.000, with eight runs and seven RBIs. He was an easy choice for World Series MVP.

Darvish sits on the other side. There's no other way to put it: He was a disaster. Between his two starts, he lasted just 3⅓ innings. He threw 96 pitches, induced only four swings and misses, and gave up nine runs.

"From the last outing I learned and I tried to make adjustments going toward today's outing," Darvish said through an interpreter. "The last outing my breaking ball, especially slider, wasn't that good or sharp. So I was trying to make adjustments between outings. And today I was able to throw it for strikes, but it didn't get to the level that I wanted it to be, which is dominating."

Now Darvish heads into free agency with this World Series cloud now hanging over his reputation as one of the game's elite starters.

"I know he wanted the baseball. I know he was prepared. I just can't explain the results. I really can't," Roberts said after the game.

In this age of social media experts, the criticism that Roberts should have pulled Darvish for Morrow when Springer came up wasn't completely unreasonable. The fact that Darvish couldn't put away Gurriel during a 13-pitch at-bat in the first inning was perhaps a sign that he didn’t bring his A-game, and the Astros are going to punish you if that's the case.

Still, Springer's ball was the only hard hit of the first inning. Marwin Gonzalez lined a double in the gap in the second.

Roberts said he had no regrets leaving Darvish in the game.

"You look up to that point, there were two balls that were hit hard. There was the first ball off Springer's bat, the double, and then Gonzalez -- outside of that we made an error, the stolen base, and then some soft grounders. I think anything but the homer you've got to kind of let the game [unfold] -- I understand it's Game 7, but I just felt his stuff was good," Roberts said.

Roberts also could have been thinking that the pitcher's spot was due up third in the bottom of the second inning, so he wanted Darvish to get that final out and then maybe lift him for a pinch hitter with the Dodgers down. It was the first time all postseason that Roberts left a starter in one batter too long. Instead, he ended up burning Morrow for just one batter anyway.

It's also true that Roberts had a quick hook all postseason with his starters. He had removed them before they got into trouble, a plan that worked to perfection in Game 6 when the bullpen tossed 4⅓ scoreless innings.
2017 World Series

Here's everything you need to know about Houston's win over L.A.

• Astros win first World Series title »
• Astros embrace, enjoy their moment »
• Correa proposes on field after WS win »
• L.A. did everything right until Game 7 »
• How the Astros dominated Darvish »
• 2017 produced a record-setting WS »
• Way-too-early 2018 power rankings »
• Schedule » | Complete coverage »

The other popular critique, that Roberts should have simply started Clayton Kershaw (or Alex Wood), sounds a lot like second-guessing after the fact, although there were some suggestions before the game to start Kershaw. Darvish is a good pitcher. He'd had a bad Game 3.

"Yu has been one of our top three starters all year or since we acquired him," Roberts said. "He had a bad one in Houston. But to think that we would start Alex on short rest, something he's never done, you don't know what you're going to get in either one of those two guys, and to think they're going to start the game, I think it's unfair to Yu."

Yes, Kershaw came in and delivered four scoreless innings in a gallant effort that history will forget, but he wasn't going to pitch all nine innings. Even if Kershaw starts, you probably need Darvish at some point. In the end, Darvish didn't get the job done and the Astros hitters did.

"When you're going to face a high-end pitcher, and even though we beat him up a little bit twice this series, it is not going to take away how good he is," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We've seen him a lot in Texas and obviously he's a difficult pitcher. You have to pick a pitch. You have to find an area of the zone that you feel comfortable with and stay in the strike zone the most you can.

"If he gets you to chase, it's advantage Darvish. If he gets you to hit his off-speed pitches, it's advantage Darvish. So you have to be very disciplined. And we did that two games in a row where we got hittable pitches and did damage."

Blaming Darvish as the goat of the series isn't completely fair, either. Kenley Jansen, the best closer in the game, blew a save in Game 2 and picked up the loss in Game 5. The Dodgers hit just .205. Even in Game 7, they had their chances, leaving 10 runners on base as they went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. The much-maligned Astros bullpen pitched 6⅔ innings of one-run relief, although it was Morton, the Game 4 starter, who went the final four.

One guy didn't lose this World Series. Twenty-five won it.
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