Dodgers head to Houston, where Astros have been unbeatable

Houston News, Sports

The Houston Astros have the Dodgers right where they want them Thursday: on a plane heading to with the World Series tied at a game apiece.

The Dodgers are likely to be shaking their heads the whole flight. Six outs away from a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven playoff, and with baseball’s best closer on the mound, the Dodgers let it get away in Game 2 Wednesday night on homers by Marwin Gonzalez, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer in the final three innings, allowing the Astros to escape with a 7-6 win in 11 innings.

The win was the first World Series victory in the 55-year history of the Astros franchise.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has until Friday, when the Series resumes at Houston’s , to figure out a way to rebound from a crushing defeat and ignite an offense that has scored eight of its nine runs against the Astros on homers.

Adding to both the difficulty and the urgency for Roberts is that the Dodgers will have to do it in Houston, where the Astros have six wins without a loss in the postseason this year. With the next three games there, the Astros have a chance to end the Dodgers’ season before the weekend is over.

“All year long we’ve done a nice job of recovering, turning the page, whether it’s a big win or a tough loss,” Roberts said after the toughest loss of the Dodgers’ season.

“Whether we’re going up 2-0 and tied 1-1 going into Houston, I don’t think that’s going to change our mindset. We’ve got a very resilient group, a lot of guys that have been around.”

The Astros said Wednesday’s outcome changed their mindset.

“The ability to win this game tonight, I mean you can’t quantify how much that means,” said Houston starter Justin Verlander, who gave up three runs — on two — in six innings.

“We play so well at home. For everything to being going right for the Dodgers, late in their bullpen, and for us to come back and win this game?

“That’s a game-changer. That’s huge.”

Added Springer, whose two-run homer in the 11th proved to be the knockout punch: “For us to come into a tough place to play and play a very, very good team and split is absolutely huge. For us to be going home to our environment, to our crowd, is huge to have it tied at 1-1.”

That might be an understatement.

In Houston, the Astros have a 1.17 earned-run average, are holding opponents to a .182 batting average and are striking out 10.8 batters per nine innings during the playoffs. The staff ERA is 6.30 on the road, where opponents are hitting more than 80 points higher.

In the American League Championship Series, Houston was swept — and outscored, 19-5 — by New York in three games at Yankee Stadium. Ending that road slump Wednesday swings some momentum to the Astros.

“Getting home is always nice,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “It’s going to be loud in front of our home crowd, that we’ve played tremendously well in front of.

”We’re all a little more comfortable in our routine, the backdrop, being in our own clubhouse.”

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11

Originally published at Dodgers head to Houston, where Astros have been unbeatable

Yasiel Puig sits with his head in his hands after not being able to catch what turned into a ground-rule double off the bat of Astros third baseman Alex Bregman during the seventh inning. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

 

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