World Series Game 6: Five key moments as the Dodgers force Game 7

Yasiel Puig was right. The Los Angeles Dodgers figured out Justin Verlander at the perfect time, forcing Game 7 of the World Series with a 3-1 win over the Houston Astros.

We can’t say we’re surprised. A series this intense, stressful and dramatic just had to go the full distance. That seemed inevitable since Game 2.

Game 6 of the World Series may not have been the craziest game we’ve seen between these two clubs, but there were still some incredible moments.

Dodger Stadium erupts after Joc Pederson’s seventh-inning home run. (AP)

If the Dodgers just salvaged their season, fans will remember some of these highlights forever. And if the Astros are just trying to make it more dramatic, well, maybe it’s because they want baseball to drag on as long as possible.

After the first six games of this series, we can’t be upset we’ll get one more.

Corey Seager hits a sacrifice fly off Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander to tie the game for the Dodgers. (AP)

DODGERS TAKE THE LEAD IN THE SIXTH

Justin Verlander was cruising … until he wasn’t. In the sixth, Verlander seemed to momentarily lose his excellent stuff, and the Astros paid for it. Austin Barnes kicked things off with a single, putting the tying run on base. Chase Utley, who just came into the game on a double-switch, was hit by a pitch. With the tying run at second, Chris Taylor doubled him in to even the score. Corey Seager then added a sacrifice fly to put LA ahead.

With a man on third, Verlander found himself again. He got Justin Turner to pop out to first and then struck out Cody Bellinger to end the inning. The damage was done, though. After a tremendous postseason, Verlander left his final start in line for the loss.

BRANDON MORROW ESCAPES THE FIFTH INNING JAM

With Justin Verlander dealing early, the Dodgers margin for error appeared pretty slim. That’s why Dodgers manager Dave Roberts brought a quicker hook than Rich Hill obviously expected after he loaded the bases in the fifth inning. Enter, Brandon Morrow, who to this point has appeared in every Dodgers game this postseason but one. Clearly fatigued in Game 5, Morrow blamed himself for allowing a huge inning for Houston’s offense. But he impressively bounced back, retiring Alex Bregman to escape the jam and keep Los Angeles in the game.

JOC PEDERSON STAYS HOT WITH HOME RUN

Joc Pederson provided some big insurance for the Dodgers, launching an opposite field home run in the seventh to extend the lead to 3-1. No lead has felt safe in this series. Especially when the bullpens get involved. So it has been vital to add on when possible. Pederson provided that with his third home run of the series. Even though Kenley Jansen didn’t ultimately need it, it had to be nice to know some cushion existed.

CODY BELLINGER’S SCOOP SAVE IN THE SEVENTH

The Dodgers bullpen bent a little in the seventh inning, but didn’t break thanks largely to first baseman Cody Bellinger. The Astros had runners on first and second when Jose Altuve chopped one to third baseman Justin Turner. Given Altuve’s speed, Turner approached the play with great urgency. Perhaps even too much urgency, as his throw went wide and low to Bellinger’s glove side. That wasn’t a problem though for Bellinger, as he calmly picked it out of the dirt a split-second before Altuve hit the base.

Inning over. Threat over. And we’d safely say that scoop made up for Bellinger’s four strikeouts at the plate.


GEORGE SPRINGER OPENS THE SCORING WITH HOME RUN

Given the fireworks in Game 5, the start to Game 6 was pretty slow in comparison. That changed in the third inning when the hot-hitting George Springer went opposite field for a home run against Rich Hill. The solo blast was Springer’s third in the last three games and his fourth overall in the series. Overall, he’s hitting 9 for 24 (.375) in the series and would likely be Houston’s leading MVP candidate if they win in Game 7.

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