Fri, Nov 03, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Astros dominate to secure maiden title

SPUTTERING OFFENSE:While Clayton Kershaw kept Houston in check, the Dodgers were unable to score runs, stranding runners on base over several innings

AFP, LOS ANGELES

The Houston Astros’ Josh Reddick, center, hoists the Commissioner’s Trophy after their victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

The Houston Astros — fueled by George Springer’s record-equaling home run — on Wednesday won their first World Series title with a 5-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Springer belted his fifth home run of the series as the Astros exploded for five runs in the first two innings off Los Angeles starting pitcher Yu Darvish.

In a World Series that had featured dramatic swings of momentum and breathtaking rallies, the Astros never let the Dodgers get back in the game.

They claimed their first Major League Baseball crown since their inception in 1962, and credited the faith of fans wearied by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath with putting them over the top.

“I’m so happy to be a part of it,” Springer said. “To bring a championship back, to a city that desperately needed one, is a surreal feeling.”

Houston’s series triumph denied the Dodgers a seventh title and a first since their last appearance in the Fall Classic in 1988.

With everything on the line and Darvish failing to get out of the second inning for the second time this series, the Dodgers turned to left-handed pitching ace Clayton Kershaw in the third inning.

He kept the Astros in check over four solid innings, but Los Angeles, who led the major leagues with 104 regular-season wins, just could not put runs on the board.

The Astros were already 3-0 up when Springer lofted a two-run homer to center field, making it 5-0 and chasing Darvish with two outs in the second.

“I remember my plan and my approach was to get something out over the plate, get something I could drive,” Springer said. “And I just remember swinging and hearing the sound of the bat, and I knew it was a good sound.”

“And then I saw the flight of the ball, and I got to first base and I rounded third, and got home and that’s a crazy feeling. It’s a very surreal feeling, because this is Game 7. This is what you dream of as a kid,” he said.

Springer’s five homers tied the World Series record held by Reggie Jackson and Chase Utley and boosted him to World Series Most Valuable Player honors.

“This is for my teammates,” Springer said. “I wouldn’t be here without any of you guys.”

“It’s an honor, but it’s about the Houston Astros tonight and our fans. We’re coming home a champion, Houston,” he added.

Springer’s homer capped a three-run second inning and pushed the Astros’ tally for the series to 15, breaking the World Series record of 14 set by the San Francisco Giants in 2002.

Springer had led off the first with a double off Darvish and scored the first of two runs in the inning on a throwing error by Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger.

The inning ended with a dramatic at-bat by Yuli Gurriel, who was again greeted by a rain of boos after his racially charged gesture directed at Japan’s Darvish in Game 3.

As the jeers echoed around the stadium, Gurriel tipped his helmet to Darvish, who needed 13 pitches to retire the Cuban.

Chris Taylor matched Springer’s lead-off double in the bottom of the first off Astros starter Lance McCullers, but the Dodgers would end up leaving three runners on base.

The pattern continued as they stranded runners in the second, third and fifth, their title hopes slowly evaporating before Andre Ethier singled in their lone run in the sixth.

The Astros claimed the title 12 years after being swept by the Chicago White Sox in their only prior World Series appearance.

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