Astros crush Dodgers 5-1 to win first World Series

George Springer and the Houston Astros rocketed to the top of the baseball galaxy Wednesday night, winning the first World Series championship in franchise history by romping past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7.

WATCH LIVE: Houston celebrates Astros World Series win!

Playing for a city still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, and wearing an H Strong logo on their jerseys, the Astros brought home the prize that had eluded them since they started out in 1962 as the Colt .45s.

Springer led off the evening with a double against Yu Darvish, and soon it was 2-0. Springer hit his fifth homer - tying the mark set by Reggie Jackson and matched by Chase Utley - when he connected for a record fourth game in a row, making it 5-0 in the second inning.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch pulled starter Lance McCullers in the third soon after the curveballer crazily plunked his fourth batter of the game. Winner Charlie Morton pitched the final four innings.

Photos: Astros stun Dodgers to win World Series 

Here are 13 things to know about Game 7:

Springer was historically great

What a performance by George Springer. Springer started Game 7 with a double into the left field corner, and he later scored on Cody Bellinger's error. One inning later, Springer gave his team a 5-0 lead with a no-doubt two-run homer to center field. 

Remember when Springer went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts in Game 1? Yeah, me neither. He finished the series with a .379/.471/1.000 batting line. Some more notes about his World Series performance:

  • His five home runs tie the World Series record held by Reggie Jackson (1977) and Chase Utley (2009).
  • His eight extra-base hits and 29 total bases are new World Series records.
  • He is the first player in history to go deep in four straight World Series games.
  • He is the first player in history to record an extra-base hit in six straight World Series games.

Springer went 3 for 26 (.115) in the ALCS and 0 for 4 with those four strikeouts in Game 1 of the World Series. Then he became a man possessed. An unbelievable performance, this was.

Photos: George Springer is World Series MVP! 

Darvish was historically terrible

The Dodgers went out and traded for Yu Darvish at the deadline this year to help get them over the top. He wasn't brought in to help them win the NL West title. That was already in the bag. They wanted him to help them win a World Series.

Instead, Darvish did perhaps more damage to the team's World Series cause than any other player this series. The Astros tagged him for five runs (four earned) on three hits and one walk (and one Bellinger error) in 1 2/3 innings in Game 7. Darvish made two starts in the series and recorded 10 outs. His World Series line:

Game 3 was the first time in Darvish's big-league career that he failed to a) complete at least three innings, and b) strike out at least one batter. The second time was Game 7. Brutal.

Darvish joins Art Ditmar as the only pitchers in history to make two starts in a single World Series, and fail to complete two innings of work in either of them. Ditmar allowed six runs in 1 2/3 total innings in his two World Series starts for the 1960 Yankees.

Photos: Celebrities, sports legends at Game 7


Furthermore, Darvish is only the second pitcher in history with two career postseason starts of 4-plus runs allowed in fewer than two full innings. And he had those two starts in the same World Series. Yikes. Bullet Bob Turley had two such starts as well. One in the 1955 World Series, and another in 1958 World Series, both with the Yankees.

 

McCullers made some history too

Neither starting pitcher was all that effective in Game 7. The Astros and Lance McCullers Jr. are fortunate the Dodgers were unable to come though with The Big Hit the first few innings. McCullers faced 13 batters in Game 7 and seven reached base. And yet, no runs. 

McCullers plunked four -- four! -- batters in his 2 1/3 innings. None of the four hit-by-pitches were intentional, of course. He hit Justin Turner twice, plus Yasiel Puig and Enrique Hernandez once each. McCullers is the first pitcher to hit four batters in a World Series game, or any postseason game for that matter.

Since 1991, there has been a Game 7 played in the World Series eight times: 1997, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2017. That's 16 chances for a starter to have a scoreless outing. Only McCullers did it. It helped that he bowed out after 2 1/3 innings and that the Dodgers couldn't buy a hit with runners in scoring position.

The Dodgers wasted so many early chances

If nothing else, you can't say the Dodgers didn't have any chances in Game 7. They put the leadoff man on base in each of the first three innings, and had men on base in five of the first six innings. Look at these wasted rallies:

  • 1st inning: Leadoff double, later had bases loaded with two outs.
  • 2nd inning: Leadoff single, later had runners on first and second with one out.
  • 3rd inning: Runners on first and second with no outs.
  • 5th inning: Runners on first and second with one out.

There was some bad luck mixed in there -- Chris Taylor lined into an inning-ending double play in the second, and Puig lined into the third out in the fifth -- but, at the end of the day, the Dodgers couldn't take advantage of those early opportunities. They went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position in the first five innings and stranded eight men on base. Ouch.

It wasn't until the sixth inning that the Dodgers broke through. They put men on first and second with no outs, then Andre Ethier yanked a seeing-eye ground ball single to right field to score the runner from second, and the cut deficit to 5-1. That very well might've been Ethier's last at-bat as a Dodger. He is an impending free agent and the current longest tenured Dodger.

The Dodgers turned that first and second with no outs situation into just the one run. Taylor struck out and Corey Seager grounded out on a broken bat to end the rally after Ether's run-scoring single.

Houston's bullpen finally came through

The bullpen has been a sore spot all postseason for the Astros, and it was especially bad in the World Series prior to Game 7. Here are the worst bullpen ERAs in postseason history going into Game 7:

  • 1960 Pirates: 8.42
  • 2011 Rangers: 7.43
  • 2017 Astros: 7.29
  • 1986 Red Sox: 7.04
  • 1981 Yankees: 6.43

The Astros bullpen saved the best for last, it seems. After McCullers was knocked out in the third inning, four relievers combined to hold the Dodgers to one run in 6 2/3 innings. Who saw that coming?

Following Ethier's single to get the Dodgers on the board, Morton retired the final 11 Dodgers to end the game. Houston's best relievers this postseason have been starters. McCullers had the four-inning save in Game 7 of the ALCS, and Peacock had the 3 2/3 inning save in Game 5 of the World Series. Then that performance in Game 7 of the World Series. Hey, there are no style points in the postseason. Get outs however you can.

Morrow pitched in every World Series game

This series Dodgers setup man Brandon Morrow, who was limited to 136 2/3 total innings from 2013-16 by a myriad of injuries, became the second pitcher ever to work in all seven World Series games. He joined Darold Knowles, who did it for the 1973 Athletics. Coincidentally enough, Knowles was once Morrow's pitching coach in the minors.

Roberts used Morrow to get the final out of the second inning after Darvish made a mess of things. He struck out Alex Bregman, the only batter he faced. Morrow was warmed up and ready to go. I can't help but wonder why he wasn't in the game to face Springer given how much Darvish was laboring.

Gurriel tipped his cap to Darvish

Back in Game 3, Yuli Gurriel made a racist gesture in the dugout after taking Darvish deep for a home run. He was suspended five games by MLB, though the suspension doesn't begin until 2018. Gurriel was eligible to play for the entire World Series.

In the first inning of Game 7, Gurriel faced Darvish for the first time since making the gesture, and before his at-bat, he tipped his helmet to Darvish as what I assume was an apology. 

Gurriel battled Darvish for a 13-pitch at-bat before flying out. While I'm sure Darvish appreciated the helmet tip, it was a bit too little, too late. Better late than never, I guess.

Roberts set a World Series pitching change record

Not surprisingly, Roberts set a new World Series record by making 32 pitching changes in the World Series. The previous record was 30, set by then-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa in 2011. The record was set when Kenley Jansen came out of the bullpen to replace Kershaw in the seventh inning. Hey, obscure history is still history!

Fans at Minute Maid Park went nuts

Game 7 was played at Dodger Stadium, but back in Houston, Minute Maid Park was rocking at the Astros' Game 7 watch party. The ballpark was packed and the crowd went nuts when Springer hit his second inning home run to give the 'Stros a 5-0 lead. 

Check it out:

 

That's awesome. If you can't be at the game because your team is on the road, the next best thing is watching Game 7 at your ballpark with 40-something-thousand other fans.

Forget that SI jinx

Sports Illustrated called it back in 2014 with a cover predicting the Houston Astros would win the 2017 World Series. They even featured MVP George Springer on the cover.

To read full story on, click here. 

RELATED: Meet the Sports Illustrated writer who predicted the Astros would win back in 2014

She said Yes!

It's safe to say Wednesday night is the best night of Carlos Correa's life.

After the Astros stunned the Dodgers, Correa dropped to one knee and proposed to his girlfriend on the field, during the World Series celebration. Check it out:

RELATED: Carlos Correa proposes to girlfriend after World Series win

Biggio,Bagwell join celebration in LA

Astro Hall of Famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell joined the team on the field at Dodger Stadium to celebrate the team's first ever World Series win. 

Biggio picked up MVP George Springer in a moment of pure joy. 

RELATED: Astros parade will be held Friday 

Citywide Celebration

A parade celebrating the Astros World Series Championship will be held on Friday, November 3, 2017 at 2 p.m. in downtown Houston.

© 2017 Associated Press


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