Houston needed seven games to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers, and rode George Springer’s home run streak to the franchise’s first championship
With a World Series title at stake Wednesday night, the Houston Astros jumped out to an early 5-0 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers and held on to win the first Major League Baseball championship in franchise history.
The deciding Game 7 lacked some of the dramatics of the back-and-forth series that set a record for home runs in a World Series and included two extra-inning games.
But Astros right fielder George Springer punctuated Wednesday’s contest, and his dazzling series, with a two-run home run in the second inning. It was his fourth consecutive game with a home run, and his five total in the World Series tied a record held by two other players.
Springer earned series Most Valuable Player honors for his performance. After the game, he said it was one of the happiest days of his life.
“This is a dream come true. It’s an honor. But you know what, it’s about the Houston Astros tonight and our city and our fans. We’re coming home a champion, Houston,” Springer said.
From worst to first
Four years ago, the Astros were baseball’s worst team by a large margin, losing 111 games. This year, they were one of the best, winning 101 games during the regular season with a roster full of young stars including Venezuelan Jose Altuve and Puerto Rico native Carlos Correa.
The team was also a sentimental favorite after Houston was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in late August, and players played with “Houston Strong” patches on the front of their jerseys.
“We did this for them,” Altuve said after Wednesday’s game. “I know it’s been a lot going on in Houston since last year, but this is because of them, they are the biggest reason why we’re here playing every day.”
Correa also said it was special to win a championship for Houston and to represent hurricane-battered Puerto Rico.
“Being able to bring joy, happiness to their lives in this moment right now it’s really special. The same for my people in Puerto Rico, I love you so much,” Correa said.
On the field after the game Correa added to the joy of Wednesday night by asking his girlfriend, Daniella Rodriguez, to marry him. She said yes.
Dodgers falter in post-season
The Dodgers were the league’s best team during the regular season with 104 wins, but failed in their attempt to win their first World Series since 1988.
Springer’s home run knocked Dodgers starting pitcher Yu Darvish from the game, continuing a trend in the series of starters exiting games early because of ineffectiveness. For Darvish, whose mother is Japanese and whose father is Iranian, it was the second poor performance of the World Series after he failed to complete two innings in a Game 3 loss.
The Dodgers acquired Darvish in a midseason trade, hoping to solidify an elite pitching staff that included ace Clayton Kershaw. The Astros made their own trade for pitcher Justin Verlander, who played an integral role in their march through the playoffs and allowed just five hits in his two World Series starts.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts described how the final game got away from his team so early.
“The walk, the double, and then next thing you know Springer hits a homer and you’re down 5-0, so it happened very quick. And we did what we could to kind of damage control and keep us in the ball game, but we really couldn’t break through tonight.”
But while the Dodgers scored only one run in Game 7 after averaging more than five runs per game in the series, Roberts said he told the team they should be proud of how they played.
“It hurts. It’s supposed to hurt. But there’s nothing to regret when you leave it all out there,” he said.