With the Houston Astros dramatic seven game World Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on November 1, yet another hard-luck Major League team emerged from a lengthy drought to bring home the championship trophy.
“The city of Houston, still reeling from the destruction of Hurricane Harvey just five weeks prior, had something to celebrate – the Astros bringing home the World Series trophy for the first time in their history.” – Tommy Hastings, www.hastingsfirm.com
First it was the Boston Red Sox, who in 2004 ended an 86-year run. Then the Chicago White Sox broke an 87-year spell in 2005. And last year, their cross-town compatriots, the Chicago Cubs, broke a 107-year futility streak. It was the Astros turn in 2017, ending a 55-year spell that began with the team’s inception in 1962. And it was a World Series for the ages, with a mix of pitcher’s duels, home run slugfests, and edge-of-the-seat extra innings see-saw battles.
The Dodgers took Game 1 by a score of 3-1, with their ace starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw shutting down Houston’s potent offense. Kershaw allowed just one run and three hits over seven inning, striking out 11 Astros along the way, no small feat as the Astros had the fewest strikeouts in the majors over the course of the season. Home runs by Chris Taylor and Justin Turner were all the offense the Dodgers needed.
The Astros fought back to tie the series in an instantly legendary extra-inning Game 2. Behind by two runs in the eighth inning, and with an elite Dodger bullpen on the mound, things looked bleak for the Astros. But they squeaked out a run in the eighth inning, and then tied the score in the top of the ninth on a solo home run by Marwin Gonzalez, leading to extra innings. And then things really got exciting with both teams trading a barrage of home runs in the tenth and eleventh innings. Ultimately, the Astros prevailed 7-6. The seven total home runs set a World Series record.
The series shifted to Houston for Game 3, and the Astros carried the adrenaline from Game 2 with them, beating up early on Dodger’s starter Yu Darvish, and ultimately winning 5-3, and taking a 2-1 Series lead.
But the Dodger’s galloped right back in Game 4. A scoreless duel for the first five innings, the Astros took the lead in the sixth with a solo homer run by red-hot George Springer, leaving the Dodgers with their backs to the wall. But the Dodgers clawed back to tie it in the seventh inning and then broke things open with five runs in the ninth, highlighted by a two-run homer by Alex Bregman.
Game 5 will be remembered for its mayhem. In the end, it was a 13-12 extra-inning victory by the Astros, though the score only tells part of the story. A series of lead changes through much of the game resulted in emotional whiplash for fans cheering on either team. Clutch hit after clutch hit, and the dramatic moment after dramatic moment turned this game into an epic. Not until Bregman drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th could anyone be sure it was over. The Astros were headed back to Los Angeles needing just one victory.
Things could only settle down for Game 6, and for the Dodgers, that would mean seeking a few runs out of Astros ace Justin Verlander, and shutting down the Astros ferocious offense. The managed both, with a tidy 3-1 victory to tie the series at three games apiece.
With the series on the line, Houston came out raring to go in Game 7, scoring five runs in the first two innings and then simply holding on for the remainder of the game, earning a 5-1 win and well-deserved celebration in the infield after registering the final out.