Astros romp past Dodgers for 1st title

FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2017, file photo, Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series in Houston. McCullers headed into Game 6 of the World Series not knowing whether he would be attempting to close out a championship or starting Game 7 on Wednesday, Nov. 1. Several hours later, McCullers learned he will be on the mound for the biggest game in Astros history. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on Game 7 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers (all times local):

8:57 p.m.

George Springer and the Houston Astros rocketed to the top of the baseball galaxy Wednesday night, winning the first World Series championship in franchise history by romping past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7.

Playing for a city still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, and wearing an H Strong logo on their jerseys, the Astros brought home the prize that had eluded them since they started out in 1962 as the Colt .45s.

Springer led off the evening with a double against Yu Darvish, and soon it was 2-0. Springer hit his fifth homer — tying the mark set by Reggie Jackson and matched by Chase Utley — when he connected for a record fourth game in a row, making it 5-0 in the second inning.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch pulled starter Lance McCullers in the third soon after the curveballer crazily plunked his fourth batter of the game. Winner Charlie Morton pitched the final four innings.

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8:45 p.m.

The Houston Astros are three outs away from their first World Series title.

Game 7 has been fairly quiet in the late innings, with both teams’ pitching staffs finding much less trouble than their starters. The Dodgers mounted rallies in the fifth and sixth innings, but got only one run.

Game 4 starter Charlie Morton cruised through the Dodgers’ lineup in the seventh and eighth innings. Joc Pederson struck out leading off the eighth before Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes were retired on fly balls.

Houston has only two singles since George Springer’s two-run homer in the second inning, but the Astros are in command of Game 7.

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8:30 p.m.

Closer Kenley Jansen was called on to face the top of the Astros’ order in the seventh with the Dodgers trailing 5-1.

George Springer flied out and Alex Bregman struck out before Jose Altuve walked and stole second. Jansen retired Carlos Correa on a popout to shortstop.

The Dodgers again failed to muster any hits in the bottom of the inning. Against Charlie Morton, Justin Turner popped out to first, Cody Bellinger struck out for the third time, and Yasiel Puig grounded out to short.

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8:07 p.m.

The Dodgers finally got a run in the sixth, closing to 5-1 on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Andre Ethier off Charlie Morton.

Joc Pederson singled leading off and Logan Forsythe walked. Austin Barnes popped out, dropping Los Angeles to 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

Ethier batted for Clayton Kershaw, who allowed two hits in four scoreless innings, and singled to right. But Chris Taylor struck out and Corey Seager hit a broken-bat groundout as Morton avoided the bat, leaving the Dodgers 1 for 13 RISP with 10 left on base.

Kershaw allowed a leadoff single to Carlos Correa in the top half and, after a pair of intentional walks later in the inning, retired pinch-hitter Cameron Maybin on an inning-ending foulout.

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7:38 p.m.

The Houston Astros have escaped another jam and kept their 5-0 lead intact as they close in on a Game 7 victory in the World Series.

Brad Peacock retired six straight Dodgers in relief before issuing a one-out walk to Corey Seager in the fifth. Justin Turner then chased Peacock with a single, but Francisco Liriano got a grounder from Cody Bellinger before Chris Devenski got Yasiel Puig to line out.

The Dodgers have stranded eight runners through five innings. The Astros have stranded only one.

The Astros have only one hit since George Springer’s second-inning homer, but runs aren’t what they need.

Clayton Kershaw has pitched three innings of one-hit relief for the Dodgers after Yu Darvish flopped in his second straight World Series start. Kershaw, working on two days’ rest after struggling in Game 5, has struck out four Astros in the decider.

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7:10 p.m.

Clayton Kershaw has tossed two scoreless innings, but the Dodgers still trail the Astros 5-0 through four innings of the World Series.

Kershaw gave up a one-out single to Marwin Gonzalez and had a wild pitch before retiring the next two batters.

The Dodgers’ offense couldn’t get anything going against Brad Peacock in the bottom of the inning.

He retired the side, getting Logan Forsythe on a groundout to third, Austin Barnes on a pop up to third and Kershaw on a six-pitch swinging strikeout.

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6:54 p.m.

Lance McCullers Jr. was chased in the third inning, making this the first Game 7 in which neither starting pitcher got three outs.

Clayton Kershaw relieved to start the inning and retired the side in order, three days after he failed to hold a 4-0 lead in Game 5.

McCullers allowed Corey Seager’s leadoff single in the third and hit Justin Turner on a shoulder blade — McCullers’ Series record fourth hit batter of the game.

He struck out Cody Bellinger for the second time, and Brad Peacock came in and retired Yasiel Puig on a flyout and struck out Joc Pederson.

Los Angeles put on three runners in the first and two each in the second and third, but went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and stranded six.

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6:24 p.m.

The Houston Astros are off to a stellar start in Game 7 of the World Series after chasing Dodgers starter Yu Darvish.

Houston took a 5-0 lead in the second inning with three more runs off Darvish, capped by George Springer’s two-run homer. Lance McCullers Jr. also drove in a run with a groundout for the Astros, who are attempting to win their first championship in franchise history.

Springer homered in his fourth consecutive World Series game, becoming the first player in big-league history to accomplish the feat in a single postseason.

In the biggest start of his career, Darvish lasted only five outs — just as he did in Game 3. The Japanese right-hander is headed into unrestricted free agency after the worst World Series by a starting pitcher since 1960, when Art Ditmar lasted got just one out in each of his two starts for the Yankees against Pittsburgh.

The Dodgers got two more runners on in the second against McCullers, but Chris Taylor lined out and Logan Forsythe was doubled up.

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5:52 p.m.

Houston went ahead against Game 3 loser Yu Darvish after four pitches and took a 2-0 lead after eight.

George Springer lined a flat slider just inside the left-field foul line for a leadoff double, tying Willie Stargell’s record of seven extra-base hits in a World Series, set in 1979.

Alex Bregman hit a grounder that first baseman Cody Bellinger gloved in front of second baseman Logan Forsythe. Needing to make an off-balance throw, Bellinger threw behind Darvish at first base, and the ball bounced into the Astros dugout as Springer scored.

Bregman wound up at second on the error, advanced to third on Houston’s second stolen base of the Series and came home on Jose Altuve’s grounder to first.

Yuli Gurriel was booed loudly again by Dodgers fans after his racist gesture at Darvish in Game 3, which led to a five-game suspension at the start of next season. Like Rich Hill the night before, Darvish stepped off the mound before Gurriel’s opening plate appearance, allowing extra time for jeers. Gurriel hit an inning-ending flyout in a 13-pitch at-bat that raised Darvish’s pitch count to 24.

Chris Taylor doubled against Lance McCullers Jr. on a hop to the right-center wall leading off the bottom half and reached safely in all seven games. Corey Seager struck out, Justin Springer was hit by a pitch, Cody Bellinger struck out and Yasiel Puig was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.

Joc Pederson fell behind 0-2 in the count and grounded to second on McCullers’ 25th pitch.

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5:17 p.m.

The Dodgers turned to pitching legends Don Newcombe and Sandy Koufax for ceremonial first pitches before Game 7.

The right-handed Newcombe tossed the ball to Rick Monday, while lefty Koufax threw to Steve Garvey.

The 91-year-old Newcombe hung onto the 81-year-old Koufax’s arm as they walked onto the field. They stood midway between the mound and home plate to make their throws.

Newcombe was a member of the franchise’s 1955 World Series championship team. Koufax was World Series MVP in 1963 and 1965.

Before the game, Newcombe was sitting in his usual seat near the Dodgers dugout and entertained a steady stream of well-wishers. Hall of Famer Dave Winfield stopped by, along with current Dodgers Kenley Jansen and Andre Ethier and actor Ken Jeong.

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5 p.m.

Fernando Valenzuela is celebrating his 57th birthday at Dodger Stadium.

He was National League Rookie of the Year in 1981, when the Dodgers won the World Series and he earned a Game 3 victory.

Now a broadcaster for the team, Valenzuela had a 173-153 record and a 3.54 ERA in 17 seasons with the team.

Fellow Dodgers broadcaster Pepe Yniguez sang “Happy Birthday” as Valenzuela made his way through the crowded press box before the game. He also received birthday greetings in Spanish and Japanese.

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4:55 p.m.

Yasiel Puig got fired up for Game 7 by blasting “Eye of the Tiger” from “Rocky III” during his ride to Dodger Stadium.

In a video posted to his Twitter feed, the Cuban outfielder sat in the front passenger seat yelling, sticking out his tongue and thrashing his head as the opening notes of “Eye of the Tiger” blared inside the SUV.

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4:15 p.m.

Stadium organist Dieter Ruehle crafts a set list for his pre-game playing and it was a tip of the cap to the home team.

During the Astros’ batting practice, Ruehle played the Japanese folk song, “Sukiyaki,” in honor of Dodgers starting pitcher Yu Darvish at the suggestion of Japanese media members.

With the home team just one win away from their first World Series title since 1988, Ruehle played U2’s “One” and “One Is the Loneliest Number” by Three Dog Night.

The Dodgers took batting practice to recorded music selected by DJ Severe.

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2:19 p.m.

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ 3-1 win in World Series Game 6 drew an average of 23 million viewers on the three Fox outlets, down 4 percent from the 24 million for the Chicago Cubs’ 9-3 win over Cleveland that forced Game 7 last year.

Fox said Tuesday night’s game averaged 22,229,000 on the main Fox network, 535,000 on Fox Deportes and 244,500 who streamed digitally on Fox Sports Go. Last year’s Game 6 averaged 23.4 million on Fox, 425,000 on Fox Deportes and 151,000 on Fox Sports Go.

This was the second-most-watched Game 6 since the New York Yankees’ Series-ending 7-3 win over Philadelphia in 2009.

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1:55 p.m.

Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda delivered a message loud and clear to current Dodgers manager Dave Roberts after the team forced a decisive Game 7 in the World Series.

The 90-year-old who managed the Dodgers to their last Series title in 1988 told Roberts: “You haven’t won (expletive) unless you win tomorrow.”

Roberts smiled when asked his reaction to Lasorda’s bluntness.

“I’ve heard it all year, and I think that it’s great,” Roberts said Wednesday before Game 7. “It’s Tommy’s words of encouragement. And yeah, I think for us, we want a championship and we’re not done yet.”

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1:44 p.m.

The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers are keeping their lineups intact for the deciding Game 7 of the World Series.

Center fielder George Springer leads off Wednesday night for the Astros, followed by third baseman Alex Bregman, second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, catcher Brian McCann, left fielder Marwin Gonzalez and right fielder Josh Reddick. Right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. starts.

Center fielder Chris Taylor tops the Dodgers’ lineup. He’s followed by shortstop Corey Seager, third baseman Justin Turner, first baseman Cody Bellinger, right fielder Yasiel Puig, left fielder Joc Pederson, second baseman Logan Forsythe and catcher Austin Barnes. Right-hander Yu Darvish is on the mound.

The Dodgers won 3-1 on Tuesday night to tie it up 3-all and force the first World Series Game 7 in Dodger Stadium history.

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