Jordan Stowe - Managing Editor
As of 2017, no team has won consecutive World Series championships since the New York Yankees in 1998, 1999, and 2000 the longest such drought in Major League Baseball history. The World Series started on a 103-degree night with Justin Turner t batting, hitting a two-run homer off Houston starter Dallas Keuchel snapping a 1-1 tie and leading the Dodgers to victory in Game 1. Clayton Kershaw was brilliant, striking out 11 and limiting the Astros to one run on three hits in seven innings. Kershaw made just one mistake, surrendering a homer to Alex Bregman after Chris Taylor got the Dodgers on the board by going deep on Keuchel's first pitch of the night. Following Kershaw's exit, the bullpen continued shutting down the Astros, with Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen closing out the win.
In a wild Game 2, the Astros rallied for their first franchise victory in a World Series, hitting four homers as part of a game in which a Fall Classic-record eight home runs were hit. George Springer hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning to cap the win for Houston, which headed back home for Game 3 with the Series tied at one game apiece. The Astros also got back-to-back homers from Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa in the 10th, and a game-tying home run from Marwin Gonzalez in the ninth off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. For L.A., Joc Pederson hit a solo homer in the fifth, Corey Seager hit a two-run homer in the sixth, Yasiel Puig went deep in the 10th and Charlie Culberson closed out the record long-ball performance in the 11th.
Yu Darvish took the mound in Game 3. The Astros had lots of experience against him from his days with the Rangers, and they chased their former cross-state foe in a Game 3 win that gave them a 2-1 Series lead. Houston grabbed a four-run lead in the second inning and never looked back, and Lance McCullers Jr. followed up his brilliant relief outing from the ALCS, deftly using his curveball over 5 1/3 solid innings. The Dodgers did their best to chip away at the Astros' lead but couldn't overcome the shortest start of Darvish's career and a 3 2/3-inning save by Brad Peacock.
Bellinger scored the tying run in the seventh and drove in the go-ahead run in a five-run ninth that was capped by Pederson's homer, as the Dodgers evened the Fall Classic at 2-2. L.A. needed the offense despite Alex Wood taking a no-hit bid into the sixth, which ended on George Springer's homer. Houston was held to two hits, the other being Bregman's dinger in the ninth.
In Game 5, after the Astros and Dodgers combined to hit seven homers, Bregman ripped a walk-off single to left-center off Los Angeles closer Jansen in the 10th inning to score pinch-runner Derek Fisher from second base. This put an end to the second-longest World Series game in history, sending Houston to a dramatic victory that has the American League champs one victory away from the crown.
Yasiel Puig predicted after Game 5 that the World Series would go the distance, and thanks to Taylor's RBI double and Corey Seager's sacrifice fly against Justin Verlander in the sixth inning, with Pederson's solo HR in the seventh tacked on for insurance, the first Game 7 in Dodger Stadium history was locked in. Verlander was brilliant through five, backed by Springer's homer off Rich Hill in the third, but his fortunes changed in that fateful frame, setting the stage for Game 7's winner-take-all contest.
In Game 7, Springer's record-tying fifth Fall Classic homer capped a five-run barrage vs. Darvish, and Houston held on for its first World Series title. L.A. scored on Andre Ethier's hit in the sixth, but stranded 10 vs. McCullers and four hurlers -- the last of whom, Charlie Morton, went four innings. Springer, who is the first to homer in four straight in the same Series, was named Fall Classic MVP.
The franchise that began play in the National League in 1962 -- and endured numerous playoff heartbreaks -- won its first World Series just four years removed from losing a franchise-record 111 games during an ambitious rebuilding project that netted several key contributors on this year's 101-win team.