Astros prevail in Game 7 for first World Series title

The last out of the 2017 World SeriesIt didn’t have the excitement of Games 2 or 5, but Wednesday’s Game 7 victory was the most meaningful one for the Houston Astros. The Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 to capture the franchise’s first World Series title since joining the league more than 50 years ago, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the hurricane-ravaged Houston area.

Game 7 was decided early as the Astros were able to solve Yu Darvish once again. Darvish didn’t last two innings in his Game 3 start and he had similar issues on Wednesday, unable to command his breaking ball as he allowed Houston to build a 5-0 lead. A George Springer home run in the second inning ended Darvish’s night, while also tying the record of most home runs in a World Series with five. The Astros didn’t score another run, but they didn’t need to as Los Angeles stranded runner after runner, leaving a total of 10 on base. The Dodgers did get one back in the sixth inning, but that was the only run Charlie Morton would allow in his four innings of relief, which earned him the win.

Springer, who homered in each of the series’ final four games, was named World Series MVP. The series was dominated by the long ball, smashing the previous record for home runs in World Series with 25. In a way, the series was tailor-made for the Astros, who were the offensive juggernauts of the league in 2017. Seven Astros players hit at least one homer in the series, and their relentless batting order was eventually too much for the vaunted pitching staff of the Dodgers, who showed why they were the best team of the regular season with a valiant effort that fell just short.

The Astros’ victory means a lot for a franchise that had barely tasted success after more than a half-century of existence, with their one previous World Series appearance ending without a win. This Astros championship team was constructed out of years of failure as the franchise focused on developing players internally, and those players made all the difference, from Springer to Jose Altuve to Alex Bregman to Carlos Correa to Dallas Keuchel. There was also trade-deadline acquisition Justin Verlander, who came close to a championship in previous years with the Detroit Tigers and was at his best pitching for the Astros throughout this postseason.

With large parts of the Houston area still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the Astros should provide a reason to celebrate. Their championship run became a rallying cry for the city, which was in desperate need of a win after Harvey’s devastation, and the championship parade through downtown Houston on Friday will no doubt be an emotional affair.