Teams find it hard to re­bound from tough losses

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Sports - By Ronald Blum The As­so­ci­ated Press

LOS AN­GE­LES » Dodgers re­liever Ross Stripling was con­fi­dent as the World Series headed back to Cal­i­for­nia.

“If we can just hold them to less than 12 runs, we’ll get some wins,” he said play­fully.

Los An­ge­les play­ers seemed dazed af­ter Sun­day night’s 13-12, 10-in­ning loss to the Astros, which gave Hous­ton a 3-2 Series lead.

Astros felt ec­static and en­er­gized, Dodgers drained and dispir­ited af­ter 5 hours, 17 min­utes that re­sem­bled Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Ro­bots trans­ferred from a ring to a di­a­mond.

“Base­ball is a sport of mo­men­tum,” said Hous­ton’s Brian McCann, who started the win­ning rally when he was hit by Ken­ley Jansen’s pitch with two outs in the 10th at Minute Maid Park.

Los An­ge­les wasted leads of 4-0, 7-4 and 8-7. The Astros surged ahead, 11-8 and 12-9, be­fore the Dodgers tied the score in the ninth on Yasiel Puig’s two-run homer and Chris Tay­lor’s two-out sin­gle on a 2-2 pitch.

Bounc­ing back from a rugged de­feat in the Series can be dif­fi­cult. Bos­ton was twice within a strike of its first ti­tle since 1918 be­fore los­ing Game 6 in 1986 by a 6-5 score when Mookie Wil­son’s grounder went through the legs of first base­man Bill Buck­ner. The Red Sox wasted a three-run lead to the Mets in an 8-5 loss in the fi­nale.

“We had the game won,” Bos­ton out­fielder Dave Hen­der­son said af­ter Game 6. “I’m be­gin­ning to think some­body up there is writ­ing the script to make it in­ter­est­ing.”

Texas was twice within a strike of its first World Series ti­tle in Game 6 in 2011, but Nef­tali Feliz al­lowed David Freese’s ty­ing triple in the ninth, Scott Feld­man gave up Lance Berk­man’s ty­ing sin­gle in the 10th and Mark Lowe yielded Freese’s game-end­ing home run in the 11th. St. Louis over­came a two-run, first-in­ning deficit the next night to win, 6-2.

“Some­times when op­por­tu­nity is in your pres­ence, you cer­tainly can’t let it get away be­cause some­times it takes a while be­fore it comes back,” Texas man­ager Ron Wash­ing­ton said.

Los An­ge­les landed back home at 4 a.m. PDT af­ter Sun­day night’s game, and the Astros trav­eled Mon­day. Nei­ther team worked out.

“I think that it’s ob­vi­ously dif­fer­ent than a reg­u­lar sea­son tough loss,” Dodgers man­ager Dave Roberts said. “Ob­vi­ously the emo­tions and fo­cus and en­ergy were at an all-time high. But I think that our guys, even on the air­plane, just as tough as that was, just looked for­ward to to­day, just hav­ing an off day, and be­ing ready to win a game on Tues­day.”

Justin Ver­lan­der starts for the Astros, ty­ing to win the team’s first ti­tle in its 56 sea­sons. In a re­match of Game 2 starters who did not get a de­ci­sion, Rich Hill opens for the Dodgers.

Forty-three of the 65 teams with 3-2 Series leads have won the ti­tle, in­clud­ing 25 in Game 6. Home teams have won four of the last five Game 6s and 15 of 20.

Last year, Cleve­land took a 3-1 lead in the Series, lost Game 5 at Wrigley Field, and failed to win either Game 6 or 7 at home.

Astros man­ager A.J. Hinch thought back to this year’s ALCS, when the home team won ev­ery game.

“Most of the time you ask your team to have a short mem­ory in good and bad. In this par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion I want our guys to re­mem­ber ex­actly how we felt com­ing home af­ter the Yan­kees, get­ting swept with the Yan­kees and hav­ing a 3-2 deficit. We weren’t go­ing to give up and the Dodgers aren’t go­ing to give up, either,” he said.

“So we have to go no fur­ther back than the last series that we need re­mem­ber that any­thing is pos­si­ble, and the team that is down is go­ing to come out just as hun­gry as the team that’s ahead,” he said.

MATT SLOCUM — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Dodgers re­lief pitcher Ken­ley Jansen sits in the dugout dur­ing Game 2 of the World Series on Oct. 25.

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