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Detroit Tigers News: The Astros’ offense finally came through for Justin Verlander

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This game had 8 home runs. This game was crazy.

World Series - Houston Astros v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Game 2 of the 2017 World Series was one of the wilder games I’ve ever watched. It featured postseason chaos of the finest quality, developing from what looked to be a tense, quiet loss for the Astros and a 0-2 deficit, into a terrifying back and forth slugfest that eventually went 11 innings into the outer reaches of peak baseball until almost anything seemed possible. In the end, the Astros pulled it out with an incredible late innings eruption.

If you missed it, Justin Verlander came out throwing gas in this one. He wasn’t quite as surgical with his command as in his last few outings, but he still appeared to have the Dodgers baffled most of the evening. Possibly he was too amped, as his command failed him late in his outing. Verlander would go six innings, allowing just two hits. Unfortunately, in Verlander World Series’ fashion, both were home runs. In particular, the dagger was a two-run shot from Corey Seager that broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning and had Verlander in line for yet another World Series loss.

The way things have been going with the Dodgers’ bullpen lately, and not going for the Astros’ bats, you knew that was it. But instead, this was the point where baseball roused from its early innings slumber and began to take an interest. And baseball being baseball, it was soon toying with us like a catnip dosed feline with a fresh milk ring.

The Astros scratched out a run in the eighth on an RBI single from Carlos Correa, but the inning ended when Josh Reddick bounced into a double play with two runner on. They looked to have blown their last shot until Marwin Gonzalez stepped in against Jansen in the ninth.

And just like that, we had extra innings. The Dodgers’ bullpen had caved, and the crowd was struck silent. Desperate media members cried out in shock and fury on Twitter as they burst feverishly into re-write mode. The Astros were jubilant. And, after a scoreless ninth by closer Ken Giles, they finally seized control of the game. Dave Roberts, having pulled starter Rich Hill after just four innings, was low on arms already, and turned to Josh Fields to keep his team in the game. It didn’t go well.

Altuve and Carlos Correa went back-to-back and the Astros had staggered the Dodgers. They led 5-3, and people were desperately pulling up the Dodgers’ depth chart looking for an arm. Oh but that wasn’t it. Chavez Ravine Stadium had devolved into a launching pad, and we had a long way to go yet in this one.

Engaged in some kind of bat flip version of rock, paper, scissors with the Astros, Puig countered Correa’s monster bat flip with it’s nemesis, the softie.

This World Series presented by Youtube was now off the chain, and terrorizing the neighborhood. Seriously folks, these ads are out of control. Look what happened to George Springer out there.

Giles proceeded to get two more outs after Puig’s blast, then walked Logan Forsythe and wild pitched him to a second. An RBI double by Enrique Hernandez wrapped up another disastrous outing from the Astros’ closer and re-tied the score at 5-5. For the third time in an inning and a half, the outlook had radically changed. And baseball saw that it was good and chuckled cruelly to itself.

The timetables get murky, but somewhere here, after Giles’ implosion, one Justin Verlander took a brief sabbatical from breaking things while a roomful of people studiously avoided eye contact and emerged in the dugout. He may have launched into the speech from Braveheart at this point. Or something like this, I suppose.

Suffice it to say that a very fiery JV implored his team to take heart and fight back.

Meanwhile, Chris Devenski had come in to relieve Giles, and in his first act on the mound, drilled second-base umpire Laz Diaz in the thigh with an errant pickoff throw that could’ve been disastrous had it not been muffled by the impact. Fortunately, Devenski was able to settle things down and escape without further damage.

Then this happened at some point.

Verlander’s speech or no, the Astros smelled blood in the water as Dodgers’ manager, Dave Roberts, had burned through most of his available arms by this point. Brandon McCarthy came in to a tough spot having sat throughout the postseason. George Springer stepped to the plate with a man on and because this game had come down to an old-fashioned dinger shootout, launched the biggest home run in franchise history.

Springer’s two-run shot would prove the game winner, sending the World Series back to Houston knotted at one game apiece. That didn’t stop utility infielder Charlie Culberson from launching a solo shot in the bottom of the 11th inning, which brought Yasiel Puig to the plate for the final out. Because of course it had to end that way. Devenski struck out Puig and that was all she wrote.

In the end, the story of the game could be told in a gif ripped straight from Missile Command.

Or here’s the long version.

The game set a record for most extra innings home runs in a World Series game, with five, as well as the most home runs in any postseason game, ever. There were eight launched in Game 2. The Year of the Dinger isn’t over yet.

For his part, Justin Verlander was just happy to be an Astro, and to have another crack at a World Series’ start.

Bad Blood?

The Astros and Dodgers aren’t exactly out of hand or anything, but there’s some heat building between the two teams. Corey Seager was uncharacteristically exuberant after his sixth inning home run off Justin Verlander. Altuve responded with a nod to Yasiel Puig’s antics by sticking his tongue out after pounding his solo shot in the 10th inning. Puig then lovingly laid his bat on the ground after his bomb in the bottom half of the frame. And Charlie Culberson, understandably exuberant after smacking a home run to pull within one in the 11th, was stoked, pointing to the crowd as he rounded the bases. The Astros seem a bit surly about some of this.

Maybe the Astros took a bit of umbrage. It’s tough playing road games in the World Series with everyone against you. Probably they’re just using it all as a bit of fuel. We’ll see. For his part, Puig took no offense at Correa’s megaflip. Everybody should follow his example. It’s the World Series people, players get excited. #Puigstillyourfriend.

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Around the horn

Baseball America has a list of all minor league transactions since the end of the MiLB season. Fare thee well, Joey Pankake. Eno Sarris at FanGraphs has a fine piece up on how Justin Verlander recently rediscovered his changeup.

Justin Turner is having a blast playing in the World Series. Dave Roberts will likely come under some criticism for his handling of his pitching staff in Game 2, but as Zack Kram of the Ringer argued before the series, the Dodgers’ skipper has a track record that speaks for itself. Al Avila defended the organization’s approach and commitment to analytics. Stephanie Springer at the Hardball Times investigates the history of the mud used to rub up baseball’s and investigates the league’s plans to design a tackier ball that requires neither mud, nor sunscreen and rosin. No word on any plans to de-juice the baseball just yet. Having a pretty good time with the juicy ball, actually.

Baseball is terrible and glorious