Usually reliable Dodgers bullpen falters against Astros

 LOS ANGELES The World Series between the Dodgers and Astros seemed far from epic when the seventh inning finished Wednesday night Ken Giles Jersey.Ahead 3-1 at that point, the Dodgers had Game 2 won. Four innings and nine runs later, a war of bullpen attrition left the Astros with a 7-6 victory.A two-run lead would have been gratuitous for Dodgers relievers during the past two weeks. They had not yielded a run for 28 consecutive innings, having blanked the reigning world champion Cubs in the National League Championship Series and extended their streak against the Astros. The spotless stretch had given manager Dave Roberts reason to remove starter Rich Hill after four innings and let the bullpen do the rest.Brandon Morrow, a starter turned flamethrowing setup man who threw 43 2 3 innings in the regular season with a 2.06 ERA, had allowed one earned run in the playoffs until Astros third baseman Alex Bregman added to his cache of clutch hits this month. Bregman doubled to begin the eighth inning and end Morrow's night. Roberts then brought in towering righthander Kenley Jansen. Already the most effective closer in baseball and burliest at 6-5, 275-pounds he has established himself as one of the most dominant relievers in postseason history, with a record 12 consecutive save conversions."Kenley gets on the mound, you're feeling really confident," said Corey Seager, who had homered off Astros starter Justin Verlander to give the Dodgers their 3-1 lead.Jose Altuve advanced Bregman to third with a groundout. Then Carlos Correa lined a cutter thrown into the other batter's box for a single that scored Bregman and closed the margin to a run. "Give credit to Houston," Jansen said. "They battled. They fought against me. Correa just fought that one off to get that hit up the middle."Jansen stayed in for the ninth. He had recorded six outs once in the regular season and not allowed a run.With Los Angeles expecting him to finish off the Astros and bring the Dodgers to within two wins of the club's first World Series title in 29 years, Jansen blew the lead.His first two pitches in the ninth were strikes. His third pitch, a cutter intended to jam the batter up and inside, traveled down the middle."And what's-his-name just fought that off, too," Jansen said.That would be Marwin Gonzalez https://www.astrosfansgear.com/Astros_Chris_Devenski_Jersey-277. It was understandable that Jansen forgot the name. Gonzalez was batting .130 in the postseasonbefore belting the game-tying home run - now an unforgettable moment in the first World Series win in Astros history."I was just trying to get on base," said Gonzalez, who dealt Jansen only his second blown save all season. "I haven't been contributing to the team the way I want. It's been frustrating sometimes. I'm trying to do too much, but the tension of the game makes you do that sometimes."Gonzalez appreciated the mismatch he overcame and the mistake pitch he seized."He doesn't make that many mistakes," Gonzalez said. "He's the best closer in the game. I was lucky to get the pitch over the plate."Jansen agreed."Give credit to ... I forgot his name again," he continued. "He hit the one pitch that was flat.""The momentum just changed completely in the dugout https://www.astrosfansgear.com/Astros_Jandel_Gustave_Jersey-317," Gonzalez said. "We felt we had the chance, and then the next inning, the guys woke up."Josh Fields, who pitched three-plus seasons with the Astros, surrendered back-to-back home runs to Altuve and Correa in the 10th inning. The Astros' star infielders garnished their big hits with showy bat flips. Fields proceeded to give up a double to Yuli Gurriel and exited the game.Fields did not appear in the clubhouse after the loss.The epic did not end at 5-3. The Dodgers embarrassed the Astros' bullpen with a home run from Yasiel Puig and RBI single by former Astro Kike Hernandez to tie the game again."It was back and forth those last couple innings," Seager said. "They were exciting. I wish we could have come out on the other side."Because of the near victory before extra innings, the Dodgers had expensed their best arms. They used Brandon McCarthy in the 11th. He had not pitched in the previous postseason series and was added to the roster for a possible outing of long relief.His appearance would be short and costly. As had been the case all evening from the Dodgers bullpen, they rejuvenated the Astros' dormant hitters.Cameron Maybin came off the bench as part of a double switch and singled to start the inning.Then George Springer broke free from a slump with a two-run homer for his third hit of the game Justin Verlander Jersey.Springer had three hits in 30 at-bats prior to Game 2. Despite his many whiffs, his manager espoused positivity whenever asked about the leadoff slugger he refused to drop lower in the lineup."Four hours ago, I was getting questions about Springer," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said after the game. "I specifically believe in George, and tonight is an example why. He wasn't broken, his swing is not bad, he's not gone for the series. He had a bad night and came back with one of the best nights."The night did not end when Springer put the Astros ahead 7-5. The Dodgers inspired one more tremor of hope through Chavez Ravine and fear through a fan base in Houston that hoped their team would return with the series split.Dodgers left fielder Charlie Culberson hit the eighth home run of the game, which set a World Series record. After giving up that run, Astros reliever Chris Devenski managed to keep the bullpen from breaking down any further."This was a great baseball game," Culberson said. "A tough loss, but fun to be a part of."Jansen offered an assessment more apt for the bullpen he spearheads and the wild finish to a game that seemed over long before it ended."It's 1-1," Jansen said of the series, which continues in Houston on Friday. "Anything can happen. I'm going to get my shot back at them."
Posted in Default Category on June 20 at 03:30 AM

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