Early during Sunday’s white-knuckle ride that was Game 5 of the World Series (a 13-12 marathon victory for the Houston Astros over the Los Angeles Dodgers), an online commenter made the perfect point about baseball, particularly when it comes to the postseason.
“2 great things about baseball: no clock & it ain’t over ’til it’s over,” he typed to me.
Boy, was he ever right, because after the game got broken open offensively, at no point did this game feel over, up until the final swing in the bottom of the 10th inning. And even then, I think there was a slight bit of disbelief that the nearly 5-and-a-half-hour game was over.
What was predicted to be a pitchers’ duel turned out to be a slugfest, and also, perhaps, one of the greatest games in World Series history.
Early on, it was the Astros fans dreading, as the Dodgers quickly built a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, expanding it to 4-0 in the top of the fourth and chasing Astros co-ace Dallas Keuchel after just 3.2 innings pitched.
With the Dodgers’ superstar starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw on the mound, things looked dire.
But, then the Astros’ offense stunned Kershaw in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI double by Carlos Correa and a big three-run home run by Yuli Gurriel to knot things at 4-4. Soon Kershaw was gone, and the two heavyweight offenses slugged it out, as neither looked like they could be stopped.
When the Dodgers added three more runs in the top of the fifth, the Astros responded in kind in the bottom half of the inning. When the Dodgers gained a slight upper hand in the top of the seventh, the Astros bombarded the Dodgers with a four-run bottom of the seventh to momentarily take control of the game with an 11-8 lead.
After trading runs in the eight inning, Astros reliever Chris Devenski could not convert the save, as the Dodgers rallied for three runs to tie things up and eventually send the game into extra innings.
Reliever Joe Musgrove (a converted starter from the regular season) managed to hold the Dodgers to a rare scoreless inning, and then the Astros came through with a clutch two-out rally against feared Dodgers closer (and National League Reliever of the Year) Kenley Jansen.
Brian McCann reached base after getting hit by a pitch and George Springer worked a walk. In a game where the Astros smashed five home runs, Alex Bregman’s flare into left field scoring pinch runner Derek Fisher was the biggest hit of all — a walk-off win for the perfect ending to an instant-classic game.
If this indeed is the turning point of the World Series, it was a truly epic one worthy of what has been an excellent Fall Classic, so far. Get ready for Game 6 Tuesday in L.A. If the series to date has been any indication, it should be a good one.