Wild win by Astros evens World Series

The Associated Press
Ronald Blum

LOS ANGELES–George Springer screamed with joy as he circled the bases after hitting a two-run homer in the 11th inning.
Would it be enough? Was this the final plot twist on one of the wildest nights in post-season history?
Yes, it was–barely–and the Houston Astros won a World Series game for the first time in their 56 seasons.
Charlie Culberson hit a two-out homer in the bottom half off Chris Devenski, who then struck out Yasiel Puig in a tense, nine-pitch at-bat for the win.
The Astros outlasted the L.A. Dodgers 7-6 in a Hollywood thriller last night to tie the series at a game apiece.
“Wasn’t that the best game ever!?” Alex Bregman proclaimed to no one in particular in the Astros’ clubhouse.
On a night of dramatic swings and a World Series-record eight home runs, Marwin Gonzalez stunned the Dodger Stadium crowd with a solo shot off dominant closer Kenley Jansen on an 0-2 pitch in the ninth that made it 3-3.
Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa hit consecutive home runs against Josh Fields in the 10th to build a 5-3 Astros’ lead, with Correa flipping his bat to celebrate.
But there was more. Much, much more.
“This is an instant classic and to be part of it is pretty special,” said Astros’ starter Justin Verlander.
Puig homered off Ken Giles starting the bottom of the 10th before Enrique Hernandez knotted the score 5-5 with a two-out RBI single.
Devenski entered and, with Hernandez at second, made a wild pick-off throw that appeared headed toward left-centre field before it struck second-base umpire Laz Diaz.
An incredulous Hernandez put both hands on his helmet, unable to advance, and was stranded when Chris Taylor flied out.
“We were pretty unlucky at the beginning of the game when Taylor dove in centrefield and [the ball] hit him in the face or head,” noted Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch.
“I felt like the baseball gods were returning the favour by having an umpire standing in the way there.”
Cameron Maybin, who had entered in the 10th, singled leading off the 11th against losing pitcher Brandon McCarthy, a surprise addition to the Dodgers’ World Series roster who was pitching for the first time since Oct. 1.
Maybin stole second and Springer hit a drive to right-centre for a 7-5 lead, just the third 11th-inning home run in the World Series after shots by Kirby Puckett in 1991 and David Freese in 2011.
Springer, an all-star leadoff man, broke out of his slump with three hits and a walk after going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the series-opener Tuesday.
His decisive drive made the Astros the first team to hit three extra-inning home runs in a post-season game.
“It was an emotional roller-coaster,” admitted Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts, who removed starter Rich Hill after he threw only 60 pitches in four solid innings and struck out seven.
After another steamy night in a Santa Ana heat wave, the series now shifts to Texas and resumes tomorrow night at Houston’s Minute Maid Park, where the retractable roof has not been open for a game since June 9.
Lance McCullers Jr. starts for the Astros and Yu Darvish for the Dodgers, who acquired him from Texas at the July 31 trade deadline.
Houston is 2-5 on the road in the post-season but 6-0 at home, where the Astros have outscored the Red Sox and Yankees by a combined 31-7.
“We didn’t expect these guys to lay down. It’s a very good ballclub over there,” Roberts said.
“We’ll be ready to go.”
Verlander, wearing an undershirt, entered the dugout at one point and screamed at his teammates that the game was not over.
“All of a sudden, two runs seemed like it was the Grand Canyon,” he said.
“I was just trying to remind these guys two runs is nothing.”
Bregman’s RBI single in the third gave Houston its first lead of the series–a hit that might have turned into a three-run, inside-the-park homer had the ball not caromed off the bill of Taylor’s cap directly to left-fielder Joc Pederson.
L.A. had just two hits through seven innings but led 3-1 behind Pederson’s fifth-inning solo homer and Seager’s tie-breaking, two-run drive in the sixth against Verlander.
Jansen entered with a 3-1 lead trying for his first six-out save in a year after Bregman doubled leading off the eighth against Brandon Morrow–a ball that ticked off the glove of a diving Puig in the right-field corner.
Correa’s RBI single off Jansen ended a record 28-inning post-season scoreless streak by the Dodgers’ bullpen.
The Dodgers had been 98-0 in 2017 when leading after eight innings, including the post-season.
“I didn’t make my pitch,” Jansen said. “You can’t beat yourself up about that.”