Houston won our 2017 championship pre-play in a thrilling seven-game series over Los Angeles.
Jose Altuve won the MVP, hitting .357 with 7 RBI, 3 doubles, a triple and a home run. Drawing three walks, he put up a .419 OBP.
Altuve hit a tie-breaking single off of Brandon Morrow in the 8th inning to lift Houston to a win. With two outs, George Springer was hit by a pitch and later scored on the Altuve base hit. Clayton Kershaw struck out 8 in 7 innings of work, taking the ND. Dallas Keuchel went 7 innings for the win and Ken Giles got a tense save, allowing a hit and walking two men to load the bases before retiring Yasmani Grandal on a grounder to short.
Another one-run victory for Houston. Justin Verlander went 6 innings for the win, striking out 8. Alex Bregman went 2-for-3 with a two-RBI double plus a run scored set up by a walk and stolen base, leading the offense.
Houston jumped all over Los Angeles starting pitcher Yu Darvish, chasing him after 4 innings of work. Altuve went 3-for-5 with a home run and two doubles, driving in 6 runs as Houston put themselves in position for a series sweep.
Los Angeles 7-3
Cody Bellinger went yard three times as L.A. spoiled a Houston sweep at home. Houston led 3-1 headed into the 8th inning when Brad Peacock was done in by the long ball. Chris Taylor led off the inning with a single and then Corey Seager tied it with a home run. Two batters later, Bellinger hit a solo shot to give Los Angeles the 4-3 lead. Taylor added an RBI double and Bellinger a two-run homer in the 9th to pad the lead.
Los Angeles 10-6 (11 innings)
A wild game in Houston saw L.A. live to play another day. Los Angeles jumped ahead 3-0 in the 1st on homers by Bellinger (again!) and Kike Hernandez. Yasiel Puig’s solo shot in the 6th made it 4-0 and all looked well, but Houston came back with 2 in the 6th and 3 more in the 7th to take a 1-run lead. In the top of the 9th, Giles couldn’t save the game (and end the series), allowing a sac fly by Logan Forsythe and RBI triple by Chase Utley to give L.A. a 6-5 lead. Bottom of the 9th – Kenley Jansen gives up a leadoff double to Bregman, who later scores on an RBI single by Carlos Correa. We head to extra innings. In the 11th, L.A. scores 4 runs to break through and this time it holds up.
Los Angeles 3-1
The series heads back to California and the home team forces a game 7. Taylor hits a two-run homer off of Verlander in the bottom of the 3rd to give them the lead. A solo homer by Marwin Gonzalez in the 5th makes it a 2-1 game. Chase Utley triples with two outs in the bottom of the inning and starting pitcher Rich Hill due up. L.A. pinch hits with Forsythe, who comes through with the RBI single. The L.A. bullpen tosses 4 shutout innings and the series goes the distance.
A thrilling way to end an intense series. Houston starting pitcher Charlie Morton retires the first 18 men he faces, while opposing starter Yu Darvish carries a 2-hit shutout into the 7th inning. With two outs, Yuli Gurriel’s solo homer breaks the scoreless game, giving Houston a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the 8th, Morton walks Joc Pederson and plunks Austin Barnes with one out, giving way to the bullpen. Chris Devenski gets Utley on a line out to third, walks Forsythe to load the bases, then gets Taylor on a grounder to third, ending the threat. Jansen comes in to pitch the 9th and try to keep the game close, but improbably walks Josh Reddick to start the inning. Reddick steals second, moves to third on a soft grounder in front of the plate, and then scores on a balk by Jansen, padding the lead. Bottom of the 9th, Giles in for the save, having blown the save in game 5. He’s shaky to begin, walking Seager and Justin Turner to put the tying run on base. But Giles strikes out Bellinger and Puig, then gets Pederson on a hard grounder to Altuve at second and the series is over!
Houston wins Series, 4-3