LOS ANGELES -- The Astros found themselves with no shortage of heroic moments and performances in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night, pushing aside the pressure of October to deliver the biggest win in franchise history.
There was Marwin Gonzalez, who hit a stunning game-tying homer in the ninth inning off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. There was George Springer, the struggling outfielder who delivered the biggest homer in Astros history in the 11th to break a tie. And there was reliever Chris Devenski, who struck out Yasiel Puig for the final out of one of the most epic games in World Series history.
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The Astros, three outs from a daunting deficit in the Fall Classic, pulled off two improbable rallies against Los Angeles' vaunted bullpen and shocked a Dodger Stadium crowd with a 7-6, 11-inning victory to even the Series at one game apiece.
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The back-and-forth thriller featured eight homers, which is the most in a World Series game, including five extra-inning home runs, which is the most in any contest in MLB history, regular season or postseason.
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"That's an incredible game on so many levels, so many ranges of emotion," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "If you like October baseball, if you like any kind of baseball, that's one of the most incredible games you'll ever be a part of."
When Devenski got Puig to swing through a 3-2 changeup for the final out, Houston breathed a huge sigh of relief and earned the first World Series victory in club history. After a travel day on Thursday, the World Series resumes with Game 3 on Friday night at Minute Maid Park, where the Astros are undefeated (6-0) this postseason.
"I mean, honestly, it was an exciting baseball game," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "It's two teams that competed for 27 outs. And, yeah, it was an emotional roller coaster. There were some big plays defensively, some big pitches made, obviously some big hits and big homers. And the focus was there. Guys were playing hard on both sides. And unfortunately we came up short."
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"Up, down, up, down, up," Springer said of his emotions. "Those guys over there fought back in the 10th. They hit some big homers early. Our team was able to stay resilient and come out with this one."
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Gonzalez led off the top of the ninth with a tying home run off Jansen, one of the premier closers in the game. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa led off the 10th with homers off former teammate Josh Fields, putting Houston ahead, 5-3, to become the first pair to hit World Series extra-inning back-to-back blasts.
"Like I've told you before, we're never out of it," said Correa, who flipped his bat high into the air on his no-doubt homer. "We have a lineup that is really scary. When we swing at strikes and put great at-bats together, we are very scary. You saw it tonight. We were able to score runs off the bullpen and we were able to come up with the win."
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The Dodgers prolonged the game in the bottom of the 10th after the back-to-back homers. Puig homered to lead off against Astros closer Ken Giles. After Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes struck out, John Forsythe walked, took second on a wild pitch and was singled home by National League Championship Series hero Enrique Hernandez, with Forsythe barely beating Josh Reddick's throw to tie it at 5 while Hernandez took second.
"Everybody picked each other up," Giles said. "Guys swung it really well late in the game and got some big hits, and for my part, I need to do a better job."
Springer hit a two-run shot in the 11th off Brandon McCarthy, who wasn't on Los Angeles' roster for the other two postseason series and was its eighth reliever used in the game.
"I have to tell you, this is one of the craziest games I've ever played," Altuve said. "I really thank God for the opportunity to be here. They took the lead, we tied the game. We took the lead, they tied the game. We took it again, they almost tied it again."
Charlie Culberson, inserted into Cody Bellinger's cleanup spot in a double-switch, homered with two outs in the bottom of the 11th to bring up Puig again, but Devenski struck him out.
"Today's game was the game that showed what the Astros are all about and it's one through nine," Houston third baseman Alex Bregman said. "It's an entire pitching staff coming through. It's gotta be the greatest game I've ever played in and probably everybody in here."
Gonzalez's homer in the ninth came on an 0-2 cutter, the first blown save for Jansen after successfully converting the first 12 of his postseason career, an MLB record.
"I wanted it up and in and it was down the middle," said Jansen. "Hit a line drive the other way, the ball was carrying tonight. Just one missed pitch, he got me, that's it."
An inning earlier, the Astros cut the lead to 3-2 with a leadoff double by Bregman off Brandon Morrow and a one-out single up the middle by Correa off Jansen, snapping the Dodgers bullpen's scoreless-innings streak at 28. Houston took the first lead of the game in the third by parlaying three singles off starter Rich Hill, who was removed after four innings.
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Los Angeles scored in the fifth inning on a two-out homer by Joc Pederson that ended the no-hitter off Houston starter Justin Verlander, Pederson's first homer since July 26. An inning later, Corey Seager followed a two-out walk to Chris Taylor with an opposite-field two-run home run on a 97-mph Verlander fastball to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.
Pederson got the surprise start in left field, having effectively replaced the slumping Curtis Granderson on the Series roster. Two months ago, Granderson was acquired from the Mets to replace Pederson, who was sent to Triple-A to work out of a slump.
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When the four-hour, 19-minute epic was finally over, Hinch was in no mood to be satisfied with the Astros' first World Series victory.
"I think the fourth one," he said, "that will be the one to bring home to the city."
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Taylor's cap saves a run: The Astros took the lead against Hill in the third inning when Bregman came up with runners on the corners and one out and lined a single to center field on the first pitch. But Houston caught a bad break (and Los Angeles a lucky one) when Taylor made a fruitless diving attempt and was saved when the ball ricocheted off his cap and bounced directly into the arms of Pederson in left. If the ball missed his cap, it likely would have become a 2-0 game with a man on third and one out, as opposed to 1-0 with men on first and second. Hill escaped the inning with no further damage. More >
Mar-win for the tie: Gonzalez breathed life into the Astros with his game-tying shot in the ninth. The homer was only the fifth game-tying homer on the road in the ninth inning or later in World Series history and first since Dwight Evans for the Red Sox in 1975. The Dodgers were 98-0 when leading after eight innings this season (including the playoffs) before Gonzalez's blast tied it and set up Altuve and Correa to be the heroes in the 10th and Springer in the 11th.
"It was just flat," Jansen said of his cutter to Gonzalez. "Can't do anything about it. Just get rest, looking forward to tomorrow. Their two best pitchers aren't pitching the next two. Just got to go out there and take advantage of that." More >
"I loved it." -- Puig, on Correa's sky-high bat flip
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"I was still celebrating my homer when he hit his homer, so it was great." -- Altuve, on the back-to-back homers with Correa in the 10th
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SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Seager (23 years, 182 days) is the youngest Dodgers player to homer in the World Series since Pete Reiser (22 years, 202 days) in 1941. More >
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Astros: Houston, 6-0 at home in the playoffs, will send right-hander Lance McCullers to the mound in Game 3 at 7 p.m. CT on Friday at Minute Maid Park. McCullers will be making his second start in the postseason this year. He carried a shutout into the seventh inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Oct. 17 at Yankee Stadium before giving up a leadoff homer to Aaron Judge.
Dodgers:Yu Darvish has done exactly what the Dodgers had hoped when they traded for him, and he gets the Game 3 start Friday at 5 p.m. PT. He's 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA this postseason, starting a road game in both of the previous two series. From his time with the Rangers, Darvish is no stranger to Minute Maid Park, where he is 4-1 with a 2.16 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP in six career starts.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.