Then it was the Dodgers turn, rallying for three runs to tie it in the ninth inning, the last of which came on Chris Taylor’s two-out, two-strike single that scored Austin Barnes.
But it was the Astros who had the last word in the 10th inning, and while their clubhouse was a mixture of exhaustion and elation afterward, the Dodgers were resolute.
“This is not going to be finished on Tuesday,” said Los Angeles outfielder Yasiel Puig. “There is going to be a Game 7.”
In a World Series that has come to be defined by the unpredictable and unexpected, it was only fitting that one night, after a lights-out pitchers’ duel between the heretofore unremarkable Alex Wood and Charlie Morton, a slugfest would unfold that sent the Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel to early exits.
And Puig’s two-run homer off Chris Devenski in the ninth inning, which brought the Dodgers within 12-11, was the 22nd of the Series, breaking the previous record, set in 2002 by the San Francisco Giants and the Anaheim Angels over seven games.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said this is the craziest game of my life,” said Musgrove, who blanked the Dodgers in the 10th inning to get the win. “I mean, again, tonight, this is the craziest game of my life.”
In this series, the Astros have shown not only lockdown starting pitching, dynamic defense and the type of prodigious power that invites bat flips. They have also flaunted the resilience of a champion.
Twice the Astros have rallied against one of baseball’s best closers, Kenley Jansen, and twice on Sunday they rallied against the best pitcher in baseball, Kershaw, who had dominated the Astros in a 3-1 victory in Game 1.
Nobody better exemplified that bounce-back than Springer, the Astros’ center fielder.
The Dodgers had taken an 8-7 lead in the seventh when Springer made a running dive and missed Cody Bellinger’s liner, which bounced past him and allowed Enrique Hernandez to score all the way from first.
A more cautious — and prudent — play for Springer would have been to pull back and concede the base hit. But one reason the Astros are here is their superlative defense, which had rescued them moments earlier when reliever Brad Peacock threw out Justin Turner at third on Hernandez’s bunt.
But Springer atoned on the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh, hammering a fastball from Brandon Morrow far over the left-field wall.
“That’s about as low to about as high as you could probably feel,” Springer said. “I made a bad decision. I tried to make a play, but I should have stopped. But then to come out and tie it, that’s a feeling that I don’t think I can ever describe to anybody.”
Springer’s was the third home run of the game for the Astros at that point — and both of the previous two, a three-run blast by Yuli Gurriel in the fourth off Kershaw and a three-run drive by Jose Altuve in the fifth off Kenta Maeda, had also tied the score.
“This was by far the craziest game I’ve ever been a part of and will probably ever be a part of,” said Bellinger, who hit a three-run homer in the fifth off Collin McHugh that gave the Dodgers a lead.
The Astros were not done after Springer’s home run. Bregman followed him with a sharp single, and Altuve added a drive into the left-center gap, chasing Bregman home to put the Astros ahead for the first time, 9-8.
With the crowd still on its feet, Carlos Correa hit a towering fly ball to left that seemed to scrape the roof of the ballpark, the type of shot that would be a home run in an elevator shaft — or, as it turns out, in Minute Maid Park.
Left fielder Joc Pederson drifted to the wall, but the ball landed in the first row of the Crawford Boxes — the left-field seats that abut Crawford Avenue outside the ballpark. When the ball settled in the stands, Correa — who had stopped near first base — pounded his chest and pointed to his teammates in the first-base dugout as the orange-clad crowd erupted again.
In a span of six pitches, the Astros had gone from trailing by a run to seizing an 11-8 lead. Of course, with the Astros’ beleaguered bullpen, it would not be enough.
Corey Seager’s double in the eighth closed the gap to 11-9, but Peacock stranded two runners to keep the Dodgers at bay. McCann added a solo homer in the bottom of the inning to restore the three-run lead, but again it was not enough.
After Puig’s one-out homer in the ninth brought the Dodgers within one, Barnes followed with a double and advanced to third on a groundout. Taylor then delivered, lining a 2-2 changeup from Devenski up the middle.
He shook his fist as he reached first base, signaling that the Dodgers were not done. Neither, though, were the Astros.
In the 10th, McCann was hit by a pitch from Jansen, advanced to second on a walk to Springer and then was pinch-run for by Fisher, who crossed the plate to end it.
“Drama is at an all-time high,” McCann said. “You’re on every pitch, your focus is through the roof. You have to be ready for anything, thinking two, three steps ahead, constant communication. It’s more mentally exhausting than physically.”
But for a 13-year veteran playing in his first World Series, there were no complaints. A good night’s sleep and a trip to Los Angeles awaited.
“This is what I signed up for,” McCann said. “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this moment.”