For Houston, the wait is finally over.The Astros secured their first World Series championship on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, getting out to an early lead and beating the Dodgers, 5-1, in Game 7. Appropriately for a franchise in its 56th season, Houston stretched things out, following up a seven-game
For Houston, the wait is finally over.
The Astros secured their first World Series championship on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, getting out to an early lead and beating the Dodgers, 5-1, in Game 7. Appropriately for a franchise in its 56th season, Houston stretched things out, following up a seven-game win over the Yankees in the American League Championship Series with another winner-take-all victory in the Fall Classic.
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The Astros were the first team since the 1991 Braves to play in multiple Game 7s in one postseason. The only other club to win two was the 1985 Royals, who did it in the first season after the LCS expanded to a best-of-seven format.
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This marked the 39th winner-take-all game in World Series history, including a Game 8 in 1912, when a Game 2 tie extended the Series. The road teams have the edge in these contests, winning 20. Road teams have won the past three World Series Game 7s (2017, '16, '14) after losing the previous nine. Prior to the 2014 Giants, there hadn't been a Game 7 road victor in the Series since the 1979 Pirates.
Game 7 was the Astros' 112th victory of 2017 (combining regular season and postseason), just four years after the club lost 111 games. The next season, 2014, saw the debut of outfielder George Springer, who ignited the offense in Game 7 with a double and a homer, locking up World Series MVP honors.
Only three franchises have waited longer than the Astros for their first championship -- the Phillies (77 seasons), Orioles (63) and Rangers (57 and counting). Seven franchises continue to wait for their first World Series title: the Rangers (debuted in 1961), Brewers ('69), Nationals/Expos ('69), Padres ('69), Mariners ('77), Rockies ('93) and Rays ('98).
Here are the facts and figures to know about the Astros' big night.
An MVP, by George!
• Springer, Houston's leadoff man, went 2-for-5 in Game 7, jump-starting his team with a first-inning double and second-inning, two-run homer. That helped the Astros grab a 5-0 lead against Dodgers starter Yu Darvish.
Following a 3-for-26 ALCS, Springer looked non-threatening, striking out four times in four at-bats in Game 1 of the World Series. After that, Springer went 11-for-25 with five home runs, seven RBIs, five walks and only four strikeouts.
• Springer is only the third player to hit five home runs in a World Series, joining current Dodger Chase Utley for the Phillies in 2009 and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson for the Yankees in 1977.
• Incredibly, Springer is the first player to homer in four straight games within a single World Series. Jackson ('77-78) and Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig ('28, '32) homered in four straight games across multiple years.
• When Springer led off the game with a double to left field, he became the first player to record an extra-base hit in six consecutive World Series games. His subsequent home run was his eighth extra-base hit and gave him 29 total bases, each setting records for most by a player in one World Series. The 29 total bases also is a record for any postseason series.
• Four of Springer's five home runs either tied a game or put the Astros ahead, including his homers in Games 4, 5 and 6. That made Springer the second player to club either a game-tying or go-ahead homer in three consecutive World Series games, following Gehrig for the Yankees in Games 2-4 of the 1928 Fall Classic.
• With his 99.2 mph double, 110.3 mph home run and a 97.7 mph lineout in the ninth, Springer finished with 17 hard-hit balls -- defined as having a 95-plus mph exit velocity, according to Statcast™ -- in a span of 25 at-bats since the start of Game 2. No other player finished the Series with more than 11 hard-hit balls.
Back and forth they went
• Neither team could really feel safe with a lead in this Series. The Astros and Dodgers combined for 25 hits that either tied a game or spurred a lead, and that's a World Series record. The company this Fall Classic will keep in this regard includes three of the most enduring Series in history: the 2011 thriller between the Cardinals and Rangers and the 1975 Series between the Reds and Red Sox (tied with 22 go-ahead and game-tying hits); and the 2001 Series between the D-backs and Yankees (20).
• There were 11 individual plays that swung the win probability of a particular game at least 25 percent. That surpasses the previous record of eight, set in 1912 and tied in '75.
• All seven games were decided by four runs or fewer, including five decided by two runs or fewer. Only four other seven-game World Series featured a victory margin of no more than four runs in each game, most recently the 1962 Series between the Yankees and Giants.
• The cumulative margin of victory for the Series was 16 runs, making it just the eighth seven-game World Series to be that close, and the first since the legendary 1975 clash between the Reds and Red Sox (15 runs).
"Bullpenning" on repeat
• When Charlie Morton entered for the Astros to begin the sixth inning, it was his second relief appearance in the Majors and first since his first season, in 2008. On Sept. 21 of that year, Morton pitched two innings out of the bullpen for the Braves against the Mets. Coincidentally, his catcher then also was his catcher in Game 7 -- Brian McCann. One of the hitters Morton faced was current teammate Carlos Beltran.
• Morton's four innings marked the fourth time a Houston pitcher threw at least 3 2/3 innings to finish a game this October, which is the most by any team in a single postseason. Morton's terrific Game 7 outing followed Collin McHugh's four innings Game 3 of the ALCS, Lance McCullers's four innings to close out Game 7 of the ALCS, and Brad Peacock's 3 2/3-inning save in Game 3 of the World Series. The previous record for most such games by any team in a postseason was two.
Houston is also the first team to win three postseason games in which it had a pitcher finish a game with at least 3 2/3 innings of relief.
• Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow, who was first to relieve Darvish in the second, joined Darold Knowles of the 1973 A's as the only pitchers to appear in all seven games of a World Series.
• When Kenley Jansen entered for the Dodgers in the seventh, it was the team's 31st relief appearance of the World Series, breaking the 2011 Cardinals' record of 30. The Dodgers finished with 32 relief appearances for the Series.
A short night for starters
• This was the first World Series winner-take-all game in which neither starter completed three innings. Darvish went 1 2/3 innings and McCullers lasted 2 1/3.
• With neither starter getting the win, this is the first seven-game World Series (out of 39) in which starting pitchers recorded two wins (Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 and McCullers in Game 3). As recently as 2011, we saw a seven-game Series in which starters got three wins, and that has happened five other times (2002, 1979, '75, '72, '47).
• Over the past five World Series Game 7s, just one of 10 starters has lasted more than five innings -- St. Louis' Chris Carpenter (six) in 2011. Those 10 starters have combined to throw just 34 2/3 innings, with a 6.23 ERA.
• Darvish became the sixth starting pitcher to get five outs or fewer in a winner-take-all World Series game -- and the second in the past four years after Tim Hudson lasted just five outs in the Giants' win in Game 7 in 2014.
• Following his tough outing in Game 3, Darvish is the second pitcher to last less than two innings in two different starts in a single World Series. Art Ditmar of the 1960 Yankees was the first.
• McCullers exited after 2 1/3 innings, despite the fact that he had already been staked to a 5-0 lead. It's the earliest a starter has been pulled with a lead in a World Series Game 7 since the Yankees pulled Don Larsen in the final game of the 1958 Fall Classic, also after 2 1/3 innings. New York only led Milwaukee, 2-1, however, when Larsen was pulled in that game.
• McCullers was the first pitcher in postseason history to hit four batters in a game (Justin Turner twice, Yasiel Puig and Enrique Hernandez). Only five pitchers previously had hit three in a game -- two of them in the World Series -- most recently Jose Contreras of the White Sox in Game 1 of the 2005 Fall Classic against Houston. But Contreras pitched seven innings.
The long ball reigns supreme
• The Astros and Dodgers hit a combined 25 home runs, setting a World Series record. A staggering 57.4 percent of the runs scored in this Fall Classic came via homers.
• Houston clubbed 15 of those 25 dingers, surpassing the 2002 Giants (14) for the most home runs hit by any team in a World Series. The Astros used homers to account for 64.7 percent of their runs.
• The 104 home runs we saw this October set a record for any postseason, surpassing the 100 hit by postseason clubs in 2004. Those long balls fueled postseason scoring, as 50.9 percent of all runs this October came via home runs.
Odds and ends
• McCullers recorded the first RBI by a pitcher in a winner-take-all World Series game since Jesse Orosco's game-sealing eighth-inning single for the Mets in Game 7 in 1986. However, McCullers is the first AL pitcher to drive in a run in winner-take-all World Series game.
• Kershaw gave the Dodgers a chance to rally by tossing four scoreless innings of relief. He was the first Dodgers pitcher to throw at least four blank relief frames in a postseason game since Rick Rhoden in Game 3 of the 1977 National League Championship Series.
• With his three strikeouts in Game 7, the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger finished the postseason with 29, passing fellow 2017 rookie Aaron Judge of the Yankees (27) for the all-time record for one October.
• With Beltran getting his long-awaited World Series ring, only two active players have played in at least 2,500 games without capturing a title: Adrian Beltre and Ichiro Suzuki.
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSimonMLB.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.