LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers stuck with the plan, went to the well one more time, and it bought them one more day in the 2017 baseball season. A rally in the middle innings, another extra-base hit by Joc Pederson, and the final 13 outs of the game pieced together by four oft-used pitchers proved to be enough in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win over the Astros in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
It forced a decisive Game 7, which will be held on Wednesday night. In November.
Justin Verlander was awesome, just like he was to start Game 2, and again the Dodgers were able to get to him in the sixth inning. He retired 15 of 16 batters through five innings, with eight strikeouts, but Austin Barnes started things off in the sixth with a single to left field.
Chase Utley, who was brought in on a double switch in the previous half inning, Roger Dorn’d his way to a hit by pitch, giving the Dodgers their first real rally of the night.
Chris Taylor doubled to right field to bring home the tying run, then Corey Seager hit a sacrifice fly to the wall in right to give the Dodgers the lead. Verlander ended his night with nine strikeouts in six innings.
After Verlander was out, Pederson muscled a Joe Musgrove pitch the opposite way over the left field wall for an insurance run to extend the Dodgers lead. It was the fifth consecutive World Series game with an extra-base hit for Pederson.
Pederson ended his regular season with six hits in his final 63 major league at-bats, and that was interrupted with a stint in the minors. This postseason he is 6-for-19 (.316), and all of his hits are for extra bases — three home runs, and three doubles.
I’ll say this for Roberts: the man sticks to his plan, and will not be swayed.
Rich Hill was effective again, like he has been in all four of his postseason starts. He allowed one run on four hits, but with two outs and runners on second and third base the Astros were about to face him for a third time through the batting order. Leadoff man George Springer was intentionally walked to load the bases, then Hill was pulled as the Dodger Stadium crowd booed Roberts’ decision.
“I want him to go as long as he can go. Go as hard as he can go for as long as he can go. We’ll have guys behind him,” Roberts said before the game. “Rich’s only goal is to go out and execute pitches and I know that’s his only focus.”
Hill in his four postseason starts faced 18, 19, 18 and 19 batters, and that last 19 was really an 18 with the intentional walk. Just like in Game 2, when he was pulled after just four innings, Hill didn’t take the news well in Game 6.
Rich Hill with no regard for California’s water supply pic.twitter.com/Kz6BvLa5Tn— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) November 1, 2017
Off day worked wonders
After Hill was removed, he was replaced by Everyday Brandon Morrow, appearing in his 13th postseason game this season. The Dodgers have only played 14 games.
Morrow recorded three outs.
Tony Watson, working his 11th postseason game, got one out.
Kenta Maeda was in his ninth postseason game, an got three outs.
That left six outs to go, which brings us to Roberts’ pregame comments about Kenley Jansen.
“The other day we felt good about him going six outs,” Roberts said. “But I would say today is probably a three-out situation.”
Jansen, working his 12th postseason game, did get those final six outs, buoyed this time by a seven-pitch eighth inning.
Game 6 particulars
Home runs: Joc Pederson (3); George Springer (5)
WP - Tony Watson (2-0): ⅓ IP, 1 walk
LP - Justin Verlander (4-1): 6 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 9 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (5): 2 IP, 3 strikeouts