Soaring to new heights
Homers ensure it’s never over till it’s over this World Series DIgEST
At this rate, Justin Verlander might very well hit his first home run for real.
A classically poor-hitting pitcher, the Houston ace knocked one over the wall last week at Dodger Stadium in batting practice. Maybe that bolstered his belief that this batch of baseballs is slick and juiced.
On Tuesday night, Verlander aims to lead the Astros to their first championship when he faces the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of a power-packed World Series that’s already set the mark for home runs.
“We’re just making memories right now,’’ Astros catcher Brian McCann said, a day after he homered.
A total of 22 homers so far, more than 1-1/2 miles of dingers.
These nightly episodes of home run derby are connecting with fans, too — in much of the U.S., they stayed up well past midnight to watch Houston outlast the Dodgers 13-12 in 10 innings at Minute Maid Park, TV numbers showed.
With each swing, perhaps this Series really is becoming more riveting.
George Springer, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel and McCann launched longballs in the Astros’ back-and-forth thriller. Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig homered for the Dodgers — seven different players on each side have homered.
“This is not going to be finished Tuesday. It’s going to be Game 7,’’ Puig said.
Springer has hit three in the Series. His assessment of Game 5: “Bedlam.’’
“This is the craziest atmosphere I’ve ever played in, the craziest results, just big hit after big hit, big play after big play,’’ the Houston leadoff man said.
Major League Baseball set a record this year for most home runs in a season and, fittingly, Minnesota leadoff man Brian Dozier began the playoffs with a homer.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, meanwhile, has been tagged for a record eight home runs in a single post-season. Gurriel got him in Game 4, and Houston has 13 overall against the Dodgers.
Did anyone expect this many at this time in October? Surprising, right?
“I guess a little bit, just because both teams are putting up incredible at-bats in the most important times,’’ Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Monday on a conference call.
“I think we realize on the pitching side, both teams are at the very end of their rope,’’ he said. “Their mistakes are getting hit. But the volume is certainly record-setting, and certainly the intensity of the moments that are ending in home runs is hard to fathom.’’
Dodgers lefty Rich Hill opposes Verlander in a rematch from Game 2. That night, the teams wound up combining for a Series-record eight home runs, with Houston holding on to win 7-6 in 11 innings.
The Astros’ Alex Bregman hit the game-winning hit on Sunday night in Houston.
Toronto FC celebrates Victor Vazquez’s goal on Monday night in Harrison, N.J.