With one swing that could spell the end for their World Series hopes, the Houston Astros returned to their power hitting ways that had been on display for most of the playoffs to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3.
After two innings of relief, Dallas Keuchel made his triumphant return to the mound, sending the crowd into a frenzy with his first pitch a 100mph fastball that the Dodgers’ Justin Turner took down over the fence for a home run.
Game 5 of the World Series continued with manager A.J. Hinch having a tough decision to make on who would be behind the plate for the first pitch of the game. Chris Sale, who had struck out 10 Houston batters in his two previous starts, would be coming back to the mound for Game 5. But, to maintain his chance at the first World Series in the team’s history, Hinch elected to stay with Alex Bregman.
Alex Bregman (@AlexBregman) My bad for not getting worked up enough and not going into a heap at bat but this team never quits, stay positive boys and goodnight. #staypositive https://t.co/A6NG3IvBUH
Bregman ripped the first pitch he saw over the wall for a solo home run of his own. A few batters later, José Altuve put Houston ahead 2-0 with a two-run blast to left field. The first three batters of the game had six hits and five RBI for the Astros, while the Dodgers were just one for their first 13.
Carlos Correa turned in another big performance with two home runs, including a two-run home run in the seventh inning that tied the game at 3-3. Marwin Gonzalez added another home run in the eighth inning, making the Astros’ eight home runs the most in a World Series game since Arizona hit nine against the Yankees in 2001.
“It’s just really fun,” Bregman said. “I’m just kind of living in the moment right now, enjoying every moment of it.”
The five Houston players who homered in Game 5 all have had at least one RBI for the series as the Astros stand two wins away from a championship.
After Game 5, Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch said his team will definitely try to find a way to win the series, if not the World Series. “We want to win this game, I’ll leave it at that,” he said. “But the common denominator is that I think we want to win the World Series. So maybe in this locker room we can stop dancing around it and start trying to put the pieces together to win.”
Matt Kemp hits two-run home run for Dodgers in Game 5 of World Series, putting team ahead 3-2. Photograph: David J Phillip/AP
Kenley Jansen, who struggled during the series, pitched the ninth inning to end the game. The team fell just six outs away from a championship. Keuchel, who went on to lead the league in ERA, allowed one run on two hits and six walks while striking out five batters.
Asked whether the 5-3 victory seemed to be too little, too late, Hinch said: “It’s too late now. It’s not a day at a time. It’s still what we want.”
The Dodgers have now lost seven consecutive times to the Astros and seven times in a row to start the postseason. Yasiel Puig hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to cut the Astros’ lead to 4-3 but the Los Angeles bullpen couldn’t make it back from a four-run deficit.
Game 6 will be held in Houston on Thursday.