Astros take control of World Series in instant-classic Game 2

Houston Astros player steals second baseIf Game 1 of the 2017 World Series was all about pitching, Game 2 was all about the home run. It took the Houston Astros until the ninth inning to hit a ball over the fence at Dodger Stadium, but the top of their batting order exploded for four home runs to win Wednesday’s extra-innings thriller and take control of the series from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Game 1 on Tuesday was an outright duel between Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel that finished as the shortest World Series contest since 1992, and Wednesday’s game started in similar fashion with Justin Verlander and Rich Hill on the mound. The Dodgers held a 3-1 lead heading into the eighth inning, but they were already reaching deep into their bullpen and sent out closer Kenley Jansen for a six-out save opportunity. Carlos Correa trimmed Houston’s deficit with an RBI single off Jansen in the eighth, and Marwin Gonzalez sent the game to extra innings with a home run in the ninth.

Correa and Jose Altuve hit back-to-back home runs in the 10th, putting the Astros up 5-3, but Houston closer Harry Giles was unable to keep the Dodgers at bay in the bottom of the inning. Yasiel Puig crushed a homer to left field and Enrique Hernandez hit an RBI single to extend the game further, chasing Giles from the mound for Chris Devenski. Houston regained the lead in the 11th with another homer, this time a two-run shot by George Springer, and that was too much for Los Angeles, which could only find one run on a Charlie Culberson home run before Devenski struck out Puig to end the four-hour, 19-minute roller coaster of a game.

Wednesday’s win is Houston’s first-ever victory in the World Series. The Astros failed to win a game in its one previous appearance in 2005, when the franchise represented the National League, but their win in Game 2 carries more than historical significance. Because Houston was able to win in Los Angeles, it now has an opportunity to close out the series at home. Games 3, 4, and 5 are all at Minute Maid Park, where the Astros have been unstoppable in the postseason. Fortunately for the Dodgers, producing runs on the road has not been an issue, which bodes well for baseball fans hoping for more of Game 2’s excitement. The series resumes Friday.