The Los Angeles Dodgers will have their ace, Clayton Kershaw, on the mound as they try to move within one victory of their first World Series championship since 1988 Sunday in Houston.
“I like where we’re at,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Saturday after his team tied the World Series at two games a piece with a 6-2 victory over the Houston Astros. “I know that in our clubhouse we feel good.”
The Dodgers have won all four games during the 2017 postseason Kershaw has started, including Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday, when he limited the Astros to one run and three hits in seven innings, struck out 11 and didn’t walk a batter in a 3-1 victory at Dodger Stadium.
Dallas Keuchel will start for Houston, in a rematch of the Game 1 starters. Keuchel, a left-hander like Kershaw, was charged with the loss in Game 1, allowing three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out three.
“I didn’t feel at my best in Game 1,” Keuchel said. “So to me that’s going to work in my favor, although they’ve seen my pitches. They’ve seen how certain pitches move and the late movement and this and that, the shape of each pitch.
That’s going to be a fun Game 5, just based on I just faced this team five days ago, and we’ll see what kind of adjustments they make to me and what kind of adjustments I make to them.”
This is the 45th time a World Series has been tied at two games a piece. The Game 5 winner has gone on to win the Series 29 times, 65.9 percent of the time. The home team has won 26 of the 44 times the series has been tied at two games a piece, 59.1 percent of the time, including five of the last six and 19 of the past 25.
The Dodgers tied the series thanks to a five-run ninth inning where Cody Bellinger doubled in the tie-breaking run and Joc Pederson hit a three-run homer and four pitchers combining on a two-hitter.
Corey Seager was the first batter to face Astros closer Ken Giles to start the ninth and singled. He moved to second on a walk to Justin Turner and scored on Bellinger’s double.
Joe Musgrove relieved Giles and struck out the first batter he faced, Yasiel Puig. Logan Forsythe was intentionally walked to load the bases. Charlie Culberson, the pinch-runner for Turner, scored on Austin Barnes’ sacrifice fly. Pederson followed with his homer.
Dodger left-hander Alex Wood held the Astros hitless until George Springer’s home run with two outs in the sixth. Brandon Morrow then relieved Wood and retired all four batters he faced.
Tony Watson pitched a perfect eighth and was credited with the victory. Kenley Jansen retired the first two batters he faced in the ninth, then allowed Alex Bregman’s solo homer. Jose Altuve filed out to end the game.
Wood struck out three and walked two. His no-hit bid was the longest by a Dodger pitcher in a World Series game, erasing the previous record of 4 2/3 innings by Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series.
“Woody was phenomenal,” Bellinger said. “He was hitting his spots, keeping them off balance. He’s been great for us all year. We need that out of him to go deep in this game to save our arms in the bullpen.”
The Dodger victory gave teams trailing two games to one a 45-44 record in World Series Game 4s.
Houston right-hander Charlie Morton limited the Dodgers to Chris Taylor’s leadoff single in the first until Kike Hernandez’s single with one out in the sixth. Morton was relieved by Will Hayes after giving up Bellinger’s double with one out in the seventh. Bellinger had been hitless in 13 at-bats in the Series before the double.
“I hit it and I was just hoping that it faded into the wall, just so he didn’t catch it,” Bellinger said. “Luckily it did. I don’t know what I did, I just had a super sigh of relief, that’s for sure.”
Hayes retired Puig, the first batter he faced, on a line drive to right fielder Josh Reddick, for the second out of the inning, but Logan Forsythe singled, driving in Bellinger with the tying run.
Morton allowed three hits and one run in 6 1/3 innings, striking out seven. He hit one batter and did not issue a walk.
This was the first World Series game both starting pitchers allowed four baserunners or less.
The loss in the three-hour, six-minute game before a crowd announced at 43,322 was the Astros first at Minute Maid Park during the 2017 postseason after seven victories. Houston and 2008 Philadelphia Phillies are the only two teams to win each of their first seven home games in a single postseason.
Teams were not able to win seven home games in a single postseason until 1969 when the division of each league into divisions created the championship series.
–City News Service
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