LOS ANGELES — Wednesday was most definitely was not just another night at the old ballyard.
The festivities of Game 2 of the World Series started with Vin Scully inviting Fernando Valenzuela to throw out the first pitch and ended with Chris Devenski striking out Yasiel Puig in a nine-pitch battle to give the Houston Astros a 7-6 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in 11 innings. The rest of the game was so completely insane and ridiculous that you wouldn’t believe what happened if you didn’t watch it.
Here’s what went down.
Note: Arash Markazi and Bradford Doolittle contributed to this piece.
Top of the third inning
Josh Reddick leads off with infield single and Justin Verlander sacrifices him to second. George Springer lines a single to left, but Reddick gets a bad read and has to hold at third. Alex Bregman picks him up, however, with a line drive in the left-center gap that drops in front of a diving Chris Taylor. Reddick scores, but the ball bounces off the bill of Taylor’s cap right to left fielder Joc Pederson. What could have been a triple or even inside-the-park home run is instead an RBI base hit.
Score: Astros 1, Dodgers 0
Astros’ win expectancy: 66 percent
Bottom of the fifth
Verlander is dealing. He’s thrown 44 pitches through four innings, hasn’t allowed a hit and is pitching like a baseball god wanting to carry this entire team on his back. Pederson steps in with two outs. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the game that Pederson started in left field — he’d made only two starts there all season — because of his ability to hit velocity like Verlander’s. So, of course he hits a 2-1 slider out to right-center for his first home run since July 26.
Score: Dodgers 1, Astros 1
Dodgers’ win expectancy: 51.4 percent
Top of the sixth
Roberts starts burning through relievers. He pulled starter Rich Hill after just four innings. Kenta Maeda got four outs and then Tony Watson came in, threw one pitch and got a double play. Ross Stripling would face one batter in the seventh inning before getting pulled. This rapid-fire bullpen usage would come back to haunt the Dodgers.
Roberts: “I just felt that right there at the top of their order coming up, and with the way our bullpen has been throwing, you look back behind that, we had three scoreless innings after that.”
Score: Dodgers 1, Astros 1
Dodgers’ win expectancy: 57.2 percent
Bottom of the sixth
Verlander had fanned four batters in the first four innings, but just one since. Maybe the Dodgers were seeing the ball a little better once the sun went down behind the San Gabriel Mountains. With two outs, Chris Taylor walks on a 3-2 slider. Corey Seager fell behind 0-2, then drives a 1-2, 97-mph fastball out to left field for a home run.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch: “Justin Verlander was very good. We don’t even talk about him. He starts the game and gives up two hits and has to exit, National League-style. Then the game got really interesting.”
Hinch pinch hits for Verlander in the seventh, but the ace would later return to the dugout.
Verlander: “This team, since I’ve been here, and I know it hasn’t been that long, but two runs is nothing. And all of a sudden two runs seemed like it was the Grand Canyon. And I just kind of — I don’t even know if anybody heard me, but I was just trying to remind these guys two runs is nothing.”
Score: Dodgers 3, Astros 1
Dodgers’ win expectancy: 84 percent
Around the eighth
A grass fire breaks out in the vicinity of Dodger Stadium. Separately, an apartment fire in nearby Echo Park also started. The Los Angeles Fire Department responded on the ground and in the air.
— Tara Finestone (@tarawallis) October 26, 2017
Top of the eighth
Brandon Morrow had allowed just three extra-base hits all season — all doubles — but Bregman lines a hit into the right-field corner. Puig dashes over like Superman and nearly makes a spectacular catch, but the ball glances off the tip of his glove and into the stands for a ground-rule double. He slams his glove down in frustration.
Dodgers’ win expectancy: 79 percent.
Correa: “Just trying to get that run in there and make it a one-run game and give us a chance.”
Score: Dodgers 3, Astros 2
Dodgers’ win expectancy: 74.5 percent
Top of the ninth
Jansen is trying to close it out. He’d blown one save all season, and the Dodgers were 98-0 when leading after eight innings. Marwin Gonzalez leads off and homers on an 0-2 pitch — only the third home run Jansen has allowed in his career on an 0-2 pitch. It was also the first game-tying home run in the ninth inning by a road team in the World Series since Dwight Evans hit one for the Red Sox in 1975.
Gonzalez: “It was a mistake. He doesn’t usually make a mistake.”
Hinch: “Marwin Gonzalez kicked it all off. We’re not here if Marwin Gonzalez doesn’t hit it a ball to center field against the best closer in baseball.”
Dallas Keuchel: “I was thinking we just need to score a run somehow. I wasn’t expecting a home run, so that was impressive, but Marwin has been doing that all season.”
Gonzalez: “The momentum completely changed in the dugout. We knew we could win this game. The next inning, everybody woke up and [Jose] Altuve and Correa homered.”
Springer: “Believe it or not, I was actually in the tunnel. And I heard everyone start going crazy. And the ball — I heard them scream.”
Score: Astros 3, Dodgers 3
Astros’ win expectancy: 50 percent
Top of the 10th
Before this game, there had been just 17 extra-inning home runs in World Series history. We would see five over the next two frames. Josh Fields replaced Jansen and was immediately greeted by rockets from Altuve and Correa that sailed over the fence in left-center. Correa watched his, and then flipped his bat.
Gonzalez: “It was a good moment.”
Puig: “I loved it. It was a little bit higher than the bat-flips I normally do. He was happy. That’s the way you should play in the World Series.”
Jansen: “I don’t care about that, man. It’s just a style of baseball. As a pitcher, [you can] do whatever you want to. You take me out, I don’t care. You got me.”
Roberts: “Correa put a good swing on it and he does what he does. And our guy kind of went the other way. So I’m not too concerned about that.”
This made the Astros just the second team in World Series history to hit a tying home run in the ninth and go-ahead homer in the 10th (the first was the 2001 Yankees).
Score: Astros 5, Dodgers 3
Astros’ win expectancy: 93.5 percent
Sometime in the 10th
A fan leaps into the Astros’ bullpen.
Brad Peacock: “I didn’t know what was going on until it was over. The security guards came in and got the guy. I saw him get led away in handcuffs. I don’t know what he was doing. I think he was going after the security guard. He wasn’t coming after us.”
Collin McHugh: “The game was crazy. It was back and forth, one of the craziest games I’ve ever been a part of, so why not throw that in there too?”
Bottom of the 10th
Ken Giles can’t close it. Puig homers, Houston’s win expectancy is still at 81.8 percent and Logan Forsythe walks with two outs and moves up on a wild pitch. Enrique Hernandez ties it up with a two-out single to right — the first Dodgers hit that wasn’t a home run — with Forsythe making a perfect slide to evade the tag.
Keuchel: “Just crazy. We hit two home runs off a former teammate to give us the lead and then they come back and tie it up. Unbelievable.”
Hinch: “This was a hard game to finish, obviously, for both teams. And some really, really key hits that honestly it’s hard to put into one game, let alone one series.”
Score: Dodgers 5, Astros 5
Dodgers’ win expectancy: 60.2 percent
Top of the 11th
Roberts has one reliever left, not including Clayton Kershaw and Game 3 and 4 starters Yu Darvish and Alex Wood. Brandon McCarthy, who wasn’t on the roster the first two rounds and had pitched just six innings since the end of July, comes in. Cameron Maybin, who had double-switched into the game, leads off with a single to center.
Maybin: “This is the kind of game you dream about getting the opportunity to play in, so I just wanted to get a rally started and take advantage of my chance.”
Score: Astros 5, Dodgers 5
Astros’ win expectancy: 58.1 percent
Springer stepped in. Maybin steals second.
Springer: “The at-bat by Cam was absolutely huge. And him stealing second made it easier on me. The goal for me was to get him to third base, because we’ve got the MVP of the league up.”
Springer didn’t get him to third; he got Maybin home. And himself, after clocking a two-run homer to right-center off a 2-1 cutter, located at the knees but over the middle of the plate.
Verlander: “I was watching George’s home run on the TV, the same spot I was watching Marwin’s, as superstitious as we are. Obviously it was extremely emotional. And I was in the exact same spot as George’s home run because, why not? The inning before we scored a couple of runs, I’m going to be in the same spot.”
Correa: “We give a belt to the best player of the game. We gave it to Marwin. Without that home run, the rest of it doesn’t happen.”
Gonzalez: “I was surprised. I was yelling to give it to Springer since he hit the last one.”
Score: Astros 7, Dodgers 5
Astros’ win expectancy: 93.5 percent
Bottom of the 11th
The Dodgers weren’t done, not on this night. Charlie Culberson, who entered the game as a sub, homered with two outs off Devenski and pumped his arm as he rounded second base.
Keuchel: “Culberson acted like he won the World Series.”
Score: Astros 7, Dodgers 6
Astros’ win expectancy: 97.8 percent
That set up one final confrontation between Puig and Devenski. Puig took two strikes but then worked the count full. The ninth pitch was a changeup. Puig swung and missed.
Correa: “The last out I almost had a heart attack. [Devenski] was making good pitches and [Puig] kept making good swings.”
Verlander: “I’ve been part of some pretty exciting games, but with all that this one entailed to be in the World Series and to be down a game, the roller-coaster of emotion. This is an instant classic, and to be able to be part of it is pretty special.”
Maybin: “Nobody says these games are going to be easy.”
Keuchel: “There’s not going to be another Game 2 of the 2017 World Series, so we’re going to enjoy it, celebrate tonight, go home and get some rest.”
It was the first World Series win in Astros history. Hinch said that’s not the one that’s meaningful to him.
Hinch: “Not the first one, the fourth one. I think the fourth one, that will be the one to bring home to the city.”
Final score: Astros 7, Dodgers 6
Astros’ win expectancy: 100 percent