Tampa Bay Times
Astros jump on Darvish, take lead in World Series
HOUSTON — George Springer and the Astros broke out their bats in a four-run second inning, beating the Dodgers 5-3 Friday night for a 2-1 World Series lead.
Yuli Gurriel homered to begin the four-run burst off Yu Darvish that also included RBI singles by Marwin Gonzalez and Brian McCann and Alex Bregman’s sacrifice fly.
Former Jesuit High standout Lance McCullers allowed three runs and four hits over 5⅓ innings for the win, and Brad Peacock followed with hitless relief for the save as the Astros improved to 7-0 at home this postseason and moved within two wins of their first title.
Darvish lasted 1⅔ innings in his shortest big-league start.
Darvish was done after Jose Altuve’s double off the left-center wall that was the Astros’ fifth hit in the second. Kenta Maeda took over with two on and two outs and got Carlos Correa for an inning-ending flyout.
Gurriel led off the Astros second by sending a nearly 95 mph fastball into the Crawford Boxes in leftfield to give the Astros the first run of the game.
Josh Reddick, without an extra-base hit his first 54 plate appearances this postseason, followed with a sharp double down the leftfield line. After Evan Gattis drew a walk, Reddick scored when Gonzalez hit a ball that ricocheted off the wall in left-center beyond the reach of leaping centerfielder Chris Taylor.
Gonzalez got only a single since Gattis stopped at second base after holding up to see if the ball would be caught.
The Dodgers came right back as McCullers lost his command, walking Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez to start the bottom half. After a visit from pitching coach Brent Strom, McCullers fell behind Taylor 3and-1 before walking the leadoff man to load the bases.
Corey Seager followed with a grounder to first, with Gurriel starting an impressive 3-6-1 double play. A run scored to make it 4-1, but Justin Turner grounded to short to end the inning.
The Dodgers threatened again in the fifth. Pederson doubled with one out and went to third on Hernandez’s groundout to second. Taylor sent a sinking liner to center that looked like a hit off the bat, but Springer charged in and made a diving catch for the third out.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Reddick singled off lefthander Tony Watson and Gattis followed with a chopper to the third-base side of the mound. Watson fielded the ball but skidded his throw past first baseman Cody Bellinger. The ball trickled deep into foul ground, allowing Reddick to score from first to make it 5-1.
Back came the Dodgers. Seager led off the sixth with a walk and Turner lined a double into the corner in left. McCullers responded by striking out Bellinger on three curveballs and manager A.J. Hinch went to Peacock to face Yasiel Puig. Puig, thrown out in the fourth trying to stretch a single, grounded to second to make it 5-2 and move Turner to third. With pinch-hitter Chase Utley at the plate, Peacock threw a wild pitch to make it 5-3.
Utley fouled out to third, and the Dodgers never threatened again.
Charlie Morton starts for Houston in Game 4 tonight against Alex Wood.
REHABBING THE RAINBOW: Once mocked, now fashionable, those rainbow jerseys of the Astros are back in full bloom at the World Series.
The Astros didn’t sport them for Friday night’s game. But they’ve become a fan favorite decades after they debuted, and Minute Maid Park was peppered with the out-of-the-box style.
Count model Kate Upton in that crowd. She liked the bright colors so much, she recently wore them on the field while celebrating with her fiance, Houston ace Justin Verlander.
UGLY MOMENT: Gurriel appeared to mock Japan native Darvish’s Asian heritage after homering in the second inning. Gurriel, who is Cuban, was seen in the dugout making what looked to be a slant-eyed gesture. CUBAN HIT KING: Gurriel’s homer gave him 17 hits this postseason, the most by a Cubanborn player in a single postseason, passing Bert Campaneris. FIRST PITCH FOR WATT: Texans defensive end J.J. Watt threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3. Watt was forced to do it on crutches after breaking his left leg on Oct. 8.