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Yu Darvish, Dodgers fall short in Game 7

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World Series - Houston Astros v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Seven Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers got five scoreless innings out of Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen in relief in Game 7, something they would have killed for, but the rest of the design went haywire. The Astros won 5-1 on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, giving Houston its first World Series championship and ending the Dodgers’ season one win shy of their ultimate goal.

The Dodgers’ championship drought is now 29 years, and counting.

The funny thing about plans is how quickly they go out the window when the starting pitcher fails miserably. Yu Darvish did just that, for the second straight start.

George Springer was the nemesis for Darvish in Game 7, with a double to start a two-run first, then a crushed two-run home run in the second inning to give the Astros a 5-0 lead. Springer set records for home runs (five, tied), extra-base hits (eight) and total bases (29) in the World Series.

Darvish lasted just 1⅔ innings, just like he did in Game 3. On Wednesday he allowed five runs. In this World Series he allowed nine runs and recorded 10 outs, posting a 21.60 ERA with two walks, and the only two starts of his career with no strikeouts.

Darvish is just the second pitcher in history with two starts of less than two innings in the same World Series, joining Art Ditmar of the Yankees in 1960.

Neither starter lasted very long. Lance McCullers Jr. hit four batters, allowed three hits and recorded only seven outs, and he was by far the better starter between the two. But despite those seven batters reaching base against McCullers, six were stranded and one was doubled off on a line drive, with the Dodgers 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in those first three innings.

In an all hands on deck game, the Astros used their hands to slap the Dodgers around. On the night, the Dodgers offense was 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base. They left multiple runners on base in the first, third, fifth and sixth innings.

Everyday Morrow

Brandon Morrow found his way into yet another game, getting the final out of the third inning after Darvish’s failed start. Morrow is just the second pitcher to appear in all seven games of a World Series, joining Darold Knowles of the A’s in 1973.

Morrow also pitched in 14 of the Dodgers’ 15 postseason games in 2017, matching Paul Assenmacher (1997) for the most games pitched in one postseason.

“I felt good, most of the time. I kept going,” Morrow said. “Whenever the phone rang, I threw the ball.”

More relief

After Morrow, Kershaw followed with four scoreless innings in relief to get the Dodgers through the sixth inning. He struck out four, giving him 33 strikeouts in 33 innings this postseason. That set a new Dodgers record, surpassing the 32 strikeouts by Orel Hershiser in 1988.

Going away present?

The Dodgers scored their first run of the night in the sixth inning when Andre Ethier delivered a pinch-hit RBI single. It was the 51st postseason game for Ethier, the most in franchise history. It could have been Ethier’s final at-bat as a Dodger, after 12 seasons with the club. The Dodgers hold a club option for 2018 on Ethier worth $17.5 million, with a $2.5 million buyout.

Game 7 particulars

Home run: George Springer (6)

WP - Charlie Morton (2-1): 4 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

LP - Yu Darvish (2-2): 1⅔ IP, 3 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 1 walk