LOS ANGELES -- It was almost deja vu for All-Star closer Kenley Jansen on Tuesday night in the Dodgers' 3-1 victory in Game 6 of the World Series.In Game 2 of the Fall Classic, manager Dave Roberts asked Jansen to get six outs and shut the door on the Astros
LOS ANGELES -- It was almost deja vu for All-Star closer Kenley Jansen on Tuesday night in the Dodgers' 3-1 victory in Game 6 of the World Series.
In Game 2 of the Fall Classic, manager Dave Roberts asked Jansen to get six outs and shut the door on the Astros with the club holding a 3-1 lead at Dodger Stadium.
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Jansen didn't come through, blowing the save after giving up an RBI single to Carlos Correa in the eighth and a game-tying homer to Marwin Gonzalez in the ninth, and the Dodgers went on to lose 7-6 in 11 innings. So when Roberts called on Jansen for another six-out save with Los Angeles up, 3-1, in Game 6, it was a chance for redemption.
The 30-year-old Jansen didn't miss this opportunity, getting the job done and recording a six-out save to force a Game 7.
"He's the best closer in baseball," said Rich Hill, the Dodgers' Game 6 starter. "To see him coming out of the bullpen for the eighth, everybody was really excited. He wanted to come back and prove himself and win it for every guy in this locker room."
The six-out save -- which included three strikeouts and 18 of 19 pitches going for strikes -- was only the second in his career, with the first instance coming in Game 2 of the 2016 National League Division Series against the Nationals. With a winner-take-all situation in Game 7, Roberts said it will be all hands on deck and Jansen will be ready.
"I feel great," Jansen said about his availability. "Whatever they want me to do. Excitement, adrenaline. We're in front of our fans, it's awesome, Game 7. These fans are ready for it. We're going to try to do everything, stay focused and try to help our team win."
The Dodgers have used Jansen to get more than three outs four times this October. But hours before they took the field for a decisive World Series game, Roberts said he would only ask Jansen to get three outs. Roberts had left-hander Alex Wood warming up in the top of the seventh, but he sat him down and instead had Jansen heat up to get in the game.
What changed for Roberts? Jansen said he told Roberts during the game he felt fine after Monday's off-day and could give the Dodgers whatever they needed.
"I gave him my honesty," Jansen said of what he told Roberts. "I feel great. I didn't feel tired at all out there. I tried to help my teammates and pick them up and force a Game 7."
Roberts brought Jansen out of the bullpen for the eighth, and he retired the heart of the Astros' order on seven pitches. From there, Roberts had no more doubt that his closer was going to hold off Houston.
"He put us in a position where you could entertain him going out there for the ninth," Roberts said. "When I called on him in the eighth, I wasn't certain. I just knew that part of the order, I just wanted him to attack those guys. And if he wasn't as efficient in the eighth, then I would have been put in a different situation to call on to close that game out. Kenley, very efficient tonight."
Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.