2017 World Series Game 2 Recap: So Many Dingers
That was a helluva way for the Houston Astros to win their first-ever World Series game.
Facing one of the best closers in baseball, Houston was just three outs away from falling into a 2-0 hole in this best-of-seven World Series, but a late rally and a dinger binge by both teams in extra innings led to a 7-6 Astros win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2, sending the series back to Texas tied at one game a piece.
The win probability chart for Game 2 alone is enough to give one vertigo.
11 innings later, the World Series is tied at 1 game each. pic.twitter.com/raAzNz3OHJ
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) October 26, 2017
The two teams combined to hit eight home runs, the most ever in a World Series game. Five of those blasts came in extra innings, the most homers ever hit in extra frames in any Major League baseball game, ever. In fact, coming into this game, there had only been 17 extra-inning home runs ever hit in the history of the Fall Classic.
Heroes abounded for the Astros in this instant classic, as things really started to get nutty in the 9th, with Houston down 3-1 to Kenley Jansen.
Jansen went into last night's game with a career 1.84 ERA in 25 career postseason appearances, and the Dodgers' bullpen as a whole had been outstanding in the postseason, running up a 28-inning scoreless inning streak until last night. But then, leading off the 9th, Marwin Gonzalez did this.
.@marwingf9, how clutch are you?! #WorldSeries pic.twitter.com/xPLfUtoNyB
— MLB (@MLB) October 26, 2017
According to the Fangraphs win probability chart above, the Astros saw their odds of pulling out a Game 2 win jump from 15% to 50% thanks to that Gonzalez home run. But that was just a portent of things to come.
In the 10th, Houston superstars Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa went back-to-back to give Houston a 5-3 lead and increase their odds of pulling out a Game 2 miracle to 93.5%. They also became the first double-play combo to ever hit back-to-back homers in the Fall Classic.
But the Dodgers weren't done. Yasiel Puig led off the bottom of the inning with a dinger, and Kike Hernandez hit a two-out, game-tying RBI single off struggling Astros closer Ken Giles that improved L.A.'s odds of winning from 13.4% to 60.2%.
Onto the 11th. With the game tied 5-5, the struggling George Springer, who came into the game in a 3-for-30 funk since the start of the American League Championsip Series, smoked the biggest home run of his life to push Houston in front by two.
Lots of heroes tonight.
But Super Springer topped them all! pic.twitter.com/BB6NJ9GiW9
— MLB (@MLB) October 26, 2017
A Charlie Culberson bomb in the bottom of the 11th brought L.A. to within a run and set the record for most extra-inning homers in any game -- ever -- but it wasn't enough to overcome the heroics of the young Astros hitters.
Manager Dave Roberts will be questioned for his decision to remove starter Rich Hill from the game after just four innings of work when Hill had given up just one run on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. This season, Hill had done well facing opponents the third time through the order, giving up a slash line of .158/.208/.200 in the split. But the Dodgers' bullpen had been one of the team's greatest strengths this postseason, and the 'pen hadn't allowed a run since the National League Division Series.
Yet, because he had pulled Hill so early, Roberts was forced to use his entire bullpen, eight more pitchers in all, with starter Brandon McCarthy brought in to pitch in the 11th. Two homers later, the Astros were back in the series.
It's hard to remember now, but the Dodgers were in position to win this game thanks to dingers by two of their young studs off a scintillating Justin Verlander -- a solo shot by Joc Pederson that tied the game at 1-1 and a two-run blast by Corey Seager that gave L.A. a 3-1 lead that they would hand off to Jansen in the 8th.
But L.A.'s vaunted bullpen, for once, couldn't hold the lead, and now, after one of the most memorable games in World Series history, the Series shifts back to Houston for the next three games.