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Springer dinger deflates Dodgers

(China Daily)    14:11, October 27, 2017

George Springer of the Houston Astros blasts a two-run homer against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. The Astros won 7-6 to even the series at 1-1.Christian Petersen / Getty Images / AFP

George Springer shouted with joy as he circled the bases after hitting a two-run homer in the top of the 11th inning.

Would it be enough? Was this the final plot twist on one of the wildest nights in postseason history?

Yes, it was - barely - as the Houston Astros hung on to win a World Series game for the first time in their 56 seasons - a 7-6 Hollywood thriller over the Los Angeles Dodgers that tied the World Series 1-1 on Wednesday night.

LA's Charlie Culberson drilled a two-out homer in the bottom of the 11th off Chris Devenski, who then struck out Yasiel Puig in a tense, nine-pitch at-bat for the win.

"Wasn't that the best game ever?" Alex Bregman proclaimed to no one in particular in the Astros clubhouse.

On a night of dramatic swings that featured a World Series-record eight homers, Marwin Gonzalez stunned the Dodger Stadium crowd with a solo shot off dominant Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen on an 0-2 pitch in the ninth that made it 3-3.

Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa hit consecutive dingers off Josh Fields in the 10th to build a 5-3 Houston lead, with Correa making a big bat flip to celebrate.

But there was more. Much, much more.

"This is an instant classic and to be part of it is pretty special," said Astros starter Justin Verlander.

Puig homered off Ken Giles starting the bottom of the 10th and Enrique Hernandez knotted the score 5-5 with a twoout RBI single.

Devenski entered and, with Hernandez at second, made a wild pickoff throw that appeared headed toward left-center field before it struck second base umpire Laz Diaz.

An incredulous Hernandez put both hands on his helmet, unable to advance, and was stranded when Chris Taylor flied out.

"We were pretty unlucky at the beginning of the game when Taylor dived in center field and the ball hit him in the face or head," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.

"I felt like the baseball gods were returning the favor, by having an umpire standing in the way there."

Cameron Maybin, who entered in the 10th, singled leading off the 11th against losing pitcher Brandon McCarthy, a surprise addition to the Dodgers' World Series roster who was pitching for the first time since Oct 1.

Maybin stole second and Springer blasted a drive into the right-center bleachers for a 7-5 lead, just the third 11 thinning home run in Series history after shots by Kirby Puckett in 1991 and David Freese in 2011.

Springer, an All-Star leadoff hitter, broke out of his slump with three hits and a walk after going 0 for 4 with four strikeouts in the Series opener on Tuesday.

His decisive drive made the Astros the first team to hit three extra-inning home runs in a postseason game.

Devenski retired Corey Seager and Justin Turner on line-outs in the bottom half. Puig checked his swing on a 2-2 pitch - the Astros jumped when first-base umpire Gerry Davis signaled no swing - and Puig fouled off two more.

Devenski threw his fifth straight changeup, and Puig swung over it as the Astros ran on to the field to celebrate after finally closing out a back-and-forth game that lasted 4 hours, 19 minutes.

The series resumes on Friday at Houston's Minute Maid Park, where the retractable roof has not been open for a game since June 8.

Lance McCullers will start for the Astros and Yu Darvish for the Dodgers, who acquired him from Texas at the July 31 trade deadline.

Houston is 6-0 at home in the postseason, outscoring the Red Sox and Yankees by a combined 31-7 in the process, but is just 2-5 on the road.

"Whether we're up 2-0 or tied 1-1 going into Houston, I don't think that's going to change our mindset," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who removed starter Rich Hill after he threw 60 pitches in four solid innings and struck out seven.

Before Gonzalez's home run, the Dodgers had an 85 percent chance of winning, according to stats website Fangraphs. After Correa's long ball, the Astros were a 93 percent favorite.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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