LOS ANGELES -- Marwin Gonzalez's game-tying home run in the ninth inning on Wednesday may have shocked the more than 50,000 fans at Dodger Stadium who knew little about him, but to his teammates, the clutch moment wasn't all that surprising.If anything, the only thing surprising about this particular home
LOS ANGELES -- Marwin Gonzalez's game-tying home run in the ninth inning on Wednesday may have shocked the more than 50,000 fans at Dodger Stadium who knew little about him, but to his teammates, the clutch moment wasn't all that surprising.
If anything, the only thing surprising about this particular home run was that it was one of Gonzalez's few contributions at the plate this postseason. Until then, Gonzalez, whose bat was responsible for more than a half-dozen Astros comeback wins during the regular season, had been uncharacteristically quiet at the plate.
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He picked an appropriate time to reinsert himself into the conversation.
"Marwin Gonzalez kicked it all off," manager A.J. Hinch said.
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The home run, one of eight in the Astros' 7-6 victory in 11 innings in Game 2 of the World Series, was improbable for two reasons.
Gonzalez had 44 career homers from the left side before Game 2 and had never hit one out to left-center.
Second, he hit it off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, who hadn't allowed a run all postseason and had a string of 13 October outings without allowing an earned run, dating back to last season.
"It was a mistake," Gonzalez said of the pitch from Jansen. "He doesn't make that many mistakes. He's the best closer in the game.
"I think I was lucky to get the pitch over the plate."
Said Jansen: "I wanted it up and in and it was down the middle. He hit a line drive the other way, and the ball was carrying tonight. Just one missed pitch. He got me. That's it."
The home run helped shake some of Gonzalez's frustrations with how he was performing this postseason. Until that at-bat, he had seven hits in 43 postseason at-bats.
"I was just trying to get on base," Gonzalez said. "I haven't been contributing to the team the way I want. It's been enough. It's been frustrating. Sometimes I'm trying to do too much, but the tension of the game makes you do that sometimes. I was just trying to put the ball in play and try to get on base. He's the best closer in the game, so that was what I had on my mind."
The homer knotted the game at 3 and helped tie the Series at one game apiece. It also turned a relatively tranquil game into a wacky back-and-forth nail-biter that took more than four hours to complete.
"We're not here if Marwin Gonzalez doesn't hit a ball to center field against the best closer in baseball," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Obviously, our guys were way in it and it's as upbeat and positive a clubhouse as you'll ever get."
Gonzalez became the 10th player in World Series history to hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning, and the first since Kansas City's Alex Gordon in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series.
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More importantly for the Astros, it may have helped awaken an offense that, while the best in the American League during the regular season, had been relatively quiet through the latter stages of the postseason.
Gonzalez's ninth-inning solo shot preceded three more homers -- back-to-back shots by Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa in the 10th, and George Springer's two-run homer in the 11th.
"If he doesn't have that at-bat, who knows what happens in this game," Springer said of Gonzalez's homer. "That's just a great at-bat. And I don't even know how to explain how we all felt right there. But it was like a sigh of relief, like, 'OK, we can do it. Here we go.'"
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.